The U.S. oil and gas drilling rig count is steadily rising, but permitting activity is a bit more wobbly, as the Lower 48 recorded a double-digit monthly dip in May.

According to data compiled by Evercore ISI using state and federal information, Lower 48 permitting plunged by 17% in May, month/month (m/m). The Permian Basin led the decline, off 18%, or 332 fewer permits than in April. 

The dip is not too worrisome, as May “has historically been lower than April regarding permitting activity, reporting an average 21% decrease over the last five years,” Evercore analyst James West said.

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