Texas oil and gas well permitting activity declined again in February, both sequentially and compared with one year ago. Oil well completions were up modestly from January but down sharply from a year ago as the rig retreat in the oil patch continued.
The Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC) issued 924 original drilling permits in February compared to 1,682 in February 2014. In January, RRC issued 1,102 original drilling permits (see Shale Daily,Feb. 26). The most recent permit total included 827 permits to drill new oil and gas wells, seven to re-enter existing well bores and 90 for recompletions. Permits issued in February included 206 oil, 62 gas, 625 oil and gas, 20 injection, zero service and 11 other permits.
In February, operators reported 1,521 oil, 210 gas, 245 injection and three other completions compared to 2,768 oil, 232 gas, 131 injection and 11 other completions in February 2014, according to RRC data. January oil well completions numbered 1,450, according to the previous round of RRC data. Total well completions for 2015 year to date are 3,976, down 41% from 6,749 recorded during the same period in 2014.
Analysts at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in a note last week gave a nod to what they call the fracklog -- the growing number of drilled but not completed wells -- and made adjustments to their production outlook (see Shale Daily, March 27).
Texas crude production was about 1 million bbl higher in December than in November, according to commission data; however, November's total was down about 2.5 million bbl from October. Natural gas production also climbed in December after having dropped in November.
According to RRC, preliminary January crude oil production averaged 2.22 million b/d, up from the 1.93 million b/d average of January 2014. Preliminary crude production for January was 68.95 million bbl, up from 59.77 million bbl reported during January 2014. Oil and gas wells produced 607.63 Bcf of gas based upon preliminary figures for January, up from the January 2014 preliminary total of 589.74 Bcf. Preliminary January total gas production averaged 19.60 Bcf/d.
The commission's estimated final production for January is 81.02 million bbl of crude oil and 536.27 Bcf of gas well gas. RRC derived final production numbers by multiplying the preliminary January production totals of 68.95 million bbl of crude oil and 460.12 Bcf of gas well gas by a production adjustment factor of 1.1750 for crude oil and 1.1655 for gas well gas. Production totals do not include casinghead gas or condensate.
In the last 12 months, total reported production was 914 million bbl of oil and 8.2 Tcf of gas.