Texas drilling permit activity in March fell to less than half the level of one year ago while operators reported 48% fewer oil well completions and 12% more natural gas well completions compared to March 2014, according to the Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC).

In March, operators reported 1,547 oil, 305 gas, 109 injection and nine other completions compared to 2,965 oil, 272 gas, 131 injection and 13 other completions in March 2014. Total well completions for 2015 year to date are 5,946, down more than 41% from the 10,130 recorded during the same period in 2014.

RRC issued 923 original drilling permits in March compared to 1,894 in March 2014. The March total included 799 permits to drill new oil and gas wells, 16 to reenter existing well bores and 108 for recompletions. Permits issued in March included 239 oil, 75 gas, 556 oil and gas, 41 injection, three service and nine other permits.

At mid-April, RRC said Texas had about 45% of all active land rigs in the United States, according to Baker Hughes Inc. data. That was based on the April 17 land rig count of 411. One week later, on April 24, the count of total operating Texas rigs was 393 (see Shale Daily, April 24). Before the oil price collapse, Texas had about 50% of all active land rigs in the country.

Meanwhile, according to RRC data, preliminary February crude oil production averaged 2.34 million b/d, up from the 2.00 million b/d of February 2014. Total preliminary crude production for February is 65.57 million bbl, up from 56.06 million bbl reported during February 2014. Texas oil and gas wells produced 563.84 Bcf of gas based upon preliminary figures for February, up from the February 2014 preliminary total of 531.04 Bcf. Total gas production averaged 20.14 Bcf/d, according to preliminary data.

Estimated final production for February is 76.98 million bbl of crude oil and 485.39 Bcf of gas well gas. RRC derives final production numbers by multiplying the preliminary February totals of 65.57 million bbl of crude oil and 420.21 Bcf of gas well gas by a production adjustment factor of 1.1740 for crude oil and 1.1551 for gas well gas. Casinghead gas/condensate is not included.

Production in February came from 169,426 oil wells and 89,880 gas wells. In the last 12 months, Texas reported production was 930 million bbl of oil and 8.3 Tcf of natural gas.

Texas crude production in January 2014 was 72.99 million bbl. Last December it was 80.27 million bbl, and it was 74.74 million bbl last January, according to RRC data. Total natural gas production in January 2014 was 692.10 Bcf, and it was 693.41 Bcf last December and 656.64 Bcf last January.