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Shale’s Private Army Ramping Up Means Supply Wild Card for OPEC

The production restraint shown by publicly traded U.S. oil companies is at risk from private operators who are running more drill rigs.

Pumpjacks operate in the snow in the Permian Basin in Midland, Texas.

Pumpjacks operate in the snow in the Permian Basin in Midland, Texas.

Photographer: Matthew Busch/Bloomberg

The battered and bruised U.S. shale industry is finding a resurgence in one of the most unlikely places: private operators most investors have never heard of.

Take the case of little known, closely held DoublePoint Energy. It’s now running more rigs in the Permian Basin than giant Chevron Corp. Meanwhile, family-owned Mewbourne Oil Co. has about the same number of rigs as Exxon Mobil Corp.