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Acreage in the Permian Basin of West Texas and New Mexico may be expensive, but it is worth every penny. “The Permian deserves every ounce of investor love,” said Mike Kelly, managing director and senior analyst at Seaport Global Securities LLC. Kelly said that his energy research and analysis team ranks the companies it follows every quarter and for the past several quarters, 8 out of the top 10 companies have been linked to the Permian. Oil and gas development there provides high returns and high growth for the exploration and production companies that invest there.

The oil-market collapse that began nearly three years ago forced U.S. oil producers to dramatically curb drilling, eating into profits. But the companies that supplied them drilling equipment and hydraulic fracturing services felt the oil-market crash even worse. Over the past two years, the 50 biggest oil field service companies have laid off more than one in three workers they had employed around the world at the peak of the oil boom in 2014, Rystad Energy said Thursday.

When it comes to petroleum, the U.S. is the land of plenty. The year 2017 started off with a bang for American oil companies as total crude and petroleum products exports rose to a record 5.69 million barrels a day in January, government data show. A surplus of fuels means exports are available all the way down the hydrocarbon chain from crude to propane as resilient U.S. shale producers are learning to grow their output with oil dancing around the $50-a-barrel mark.

The Permian Basin in west Texas is 75,000 square miles of some of the best oil in the United States. Private equity and energy companies are clamoring to enter the basin to capture the oil riches there, which is driving up land values and could send service costs soaring. Pioneer Natural Resources is the biggest player in the Permian. Alix Steel recently went to Midland, Texas, to visit Pioneer's assets to see if there are signs of a bubble. (Source: Bloomberg)