Pioneer Natural Resources Co. CEO Scott Sheffield said Wednesday he is optimistic “that the oil price is going to continue to march forward, with probably more upside than downside.”

The always-candid executive hosted a conference call to discuss second quarter earnings for Irving, TX-based Pioneer, the largest producer in the Permian Basin. 

“Demand’s coming back around the world, people are flying more, and China’s going to come back,” Sheffield said.

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He also cited a “miniscule” planned production increase announced by OPEC-Plus on Wednesday, reflecting the...