The U.S. shale oil industry may be coming off life support, though many caution it will still take time to recover from the worst downturn in a generation.
U.S. companies sent nine drilling rigs back to the West Texas and other oil patches across the country this week, the first significant sign of recovery in the dusty regions that were at the center of the biggest domestic energy boom in 40 years.
It could mark another turning point for the industry, an end to the long financial drought that has devastated the service companies that support thousands of jobs in Houston. It comes just a few weeks before the two-year anniversary of the start of the oil bust.
“It’ll come back,” said Russell Robinson, a corporate salesman at Choice Completions, a 2-month-old oil field services startup in Houston. “You can’t live without oil, unless you want to ride a horse and buggy. You just had some people open the spigot a little more than they should have. We’re all excited it’s coming back.”
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