Hager said innovation has become much more important, and for instance, his company is using a higher sand concentration in fracking to increase output. "Thirty dollars (per barrel ) is not working at this point. I think you're going to see a lot of plays that work in $45 to 50 range. At $60, most work. We certainly don't need $90," Hager said.
Sheffield said $50-per-barrel oil would not be enough for growth in the industry, because there would not be enough cash flow.
Service providers are lowering costs. Sheffield said costs are always highest when oil prices are highest, but some suppliers were charging three times what it cost to frack a well when prices were high and production was growing. Now those costs have come down. On Thursday, oil-services giant Halliburton announced it was cutting another 5,000 jobs, after having already reduced its workforce by roughly one-quarter since 2014.
Sheffield said his company focused on its best assets. Pioneer cut back production at the Eagle Ford formation because of production declines, but its Permian basin output is up by 30 percent.