Lower 48 oil and gas permitting activity surged in March, driven by plays including the Permian and Powder River basins, and the Eagle Ford Shale.


Regulators issued 4,439 onshore drilling permits during March, up 52% month/month and 35% year/year, according to the latest tally by Evercore ISI.

The natural gas-rich Utica Shale was the only major producing region to see a m/m decline, dropping by four permits to 39, said the Evercore team led by James West.

The Permian posted a 34% m/m increase to 1,607 permits, led by five familiar, publicly traded names.

Pioneer Natural Resources Co. took the top spot in the Permian with 132 permits secured in March, up 27% versus February. Next was Diamondback Energy Inc. with 82 permits, Occidental Petroleum Corp. (78 permits),