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With $50 oil, this U.S. shale company plans return to drilling

A floorhand operates a Chevron oil drilling rig near Taft, California.
Chip Chipman | Bloomberg | Getty Images

As oil hovers near $50 per barrel, Pioneer Natural Resources has become more optimistic and is planning for the return of five to 10 rigs, once it is confident the upturn in oil is more sustainable.

"I think it is fair to say we're more optimistic than we were last month and even the month before that. We're cautiously optimistic that we're going to see improvement here in the second half of the year," said Frank Hopkins, senior vice president of investment relations at Pioneer.

Pioneer said in its earnings release last month that it is "expecting to add five to 10 horizontal drilling rigs when the price of oil recovers to approximately $50 per barrel and the outlook for oil supply/demand fundamentals is positive."