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Shale’s 400% Rise in Frack Crews Not Enough to Boost Output

  • Pumping now at levels needed for flat oil, Primary Vision says
  • Completion crews forecast to climb 6% by year end, BI says

Even a more than 400% jump in the number of fracking crews working the U.S. shale patch isn’t enough to send oil output soaring. In fact, it’s just enough to keep production relatively flat this year, according to Primary Vision Inc., which has tracked data on frack crews since 2013.

After an 85% tumble in the number of crews completing wells during the depths of the pandemic, the figure has steadily recovered over the past year. It now stands at 235, up from 45 on May 22, 2020. That could grow by roughly another 6% to 250 crews by year end, Scott Levine, an analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence, wrote last week in a report.