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Shale output will be flat for the foreseeable future, says Pioneer’s CEO

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One of the top producers in America’s shale patch doesn’t see drilling picking up significantly even after the Saudi pledge to curb production sent prices surging.

“I really don’t see much increase in the Permian basin or the US shale over the next several years,” said Scott Sheffield, chief executive officer of Pioneer Natural Resources Co.

US oil output is expected to remain roughly flat at about 11 million barrels a day for the next several years, Sheffield said.

He added that two of the nation’s biggest shale regions, (North Dakota’s Bakken and the Eagle Ford in Texas) may never see growth again.

Although the US crude benchmark jumped above $50 a barrel this week for the first time since February after Saudi Arabia said it will cut output in the next two months, Sheffield said that Pioneer’s current production plans are unchanged.

“I never anticipate growing above 5 percent under any conditions,” Sheffield said. “Even if oil went to $100 a barrel and the world was short of supply.”

The CEO predicted more industry consolidation could occur this year if oil stays above $50 a barrel, allowing companies to improve balance sheets.

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