U.S. shale was among the biggest vic­tims of the demand destruc­tion caused by the coro­n­avirus pan­dem­ic. But the sec­tor has already proved resilient once, and now this resilien­cy is com­ing to the fore again. Ear­li­er this month, JP Mor­gan said it expect­ed U.S. shale out­put to start grow­ing in the sec­ond half of the year, thanks to high­er prices. The Ener­gy Infor­ma­tion Administration’s lat­est Drilling Pro­duc­tiv­i­ty Report also point­ed towards a recov­ery in pro­duc­tion — but a selec­tive one. The EIA fore­cast an over­all decline in U.S. shale out­put for next month with one excep­tion: the Permian.

Anoth­er sign that activ­i­ty in the shale patch was recov­er­ing came from the lat­est Dal­las Fed Ener­gy Sur­vey, which found that com­pa­nies active in the shale patch are will­ing to spend again and pro­duc­tion is climb­ing steadi­ly. The U.S. total is still about 2 mil­lion bpd low­er than the record pre-pan­dem­ic lev­els of 13 mil­lion bpd. Still, there has been a sta­ble climb, not least thanks to high­er shale output.

The lat­est in the pos­i­tive signs comes from the biggest pro­duc­ers in the Per­mi­an: Exxon and Chevron. Both com­pa­nies are tak­ing the cau­tious approach, with no imme­di­ate plans to increase spend­ing on pro­duc­tion growth. Yet they do plan to increase spend­ing at some point, and this point could be as near as next year.

Although prices are up and under­ly­ing fun­da­men­tals are strength­en­ing and recov­er­ing, we’re not out of the woods yet,” Chevron’s chief finan­cial offi­cer Pierre Bre­ber said at the company’s investor day as quot­ed by Reuters. “So this year we’re going to stick with our budget.”