Rising crude prices have surged 50 percent since last year and as a result has improved the outlook of the oil and gas industry so far this year. The U.S. shale market continues to perform well and smaller producers have ramped up drilling to gain market share. Shale is doing so well in several regions, companies are experiencing shortages in labor and can’t find trucking personnel. The oil and gas market has made a huge turnaround from four years ago, even two years ago when oil reached a low of $26 per barrel. Most major oil producers are well above their required price point to be profitable and several have reported their highest first quarter profit since 2014. Global drilling activity is estimated to reach $300 billion this year, up from $270 billion last year. Outside of a few rough spots such as Venezuela’s economic decline, geopolitical issues in the Middle East, and the slow growth in the U.S. offshore sector, the overall oil and gas market paints a bright future. However, several major oil companies are still cautious and plan to gradually increase investment in exploration and production. However, industry experts have indicated without increased spending on new oil production, we could flip from an abundance of oil to a supply crunch by 2020. In all of this good fortune and speculation, one thing is certain: the U.S. is less dependent on oil and gas imports. In fact, we’re now a leading producer of natural gas in the world. The oil and gas market, like any other, can weaken. With the past downturn still in mind, we’re better prepared to weave through another uncertain environment. The oil and gas industry is a reflection of our resilient nation, where our quest to thrive is built into our foundation.