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Permian Oil, NatGas Spending Estimated to Jump 400% by 2021 to $40B

Capital spending in the Permian Basin is set to shoot up 400% over the next five years to $40 billion by 2021, as operators raise more rigs and expand development, a Texas industry group said Thursday.

Capital investments alone in the Permian, running from West Texas into southeastern New Mexico, have reached unprecedented levels, capturing 41% of total upstream deal values last year to $25.6 billion, the Texas Oil and Gas Association (TXOGA) said.

Capital expenditures last year totaled a whopping $8 billion, but researchers see it soaring even more over the next few years, according to the report, “U.S. Energy Dominance Starts in Texas.”

“Our nation’s ability to achieve and sustain energy dominance rests here in the heart of Texas,” said TXOGA President Todd Staples. “Thanks to rich natural resources, advances in technology, and the know-how to capitalize on tremendous opportunity, Texas is helping to make the United States the global energy leader.”

Oil and natural gas activity in the Permian has spurred billions of spend for expanded pipeline infrastructure, petrochemical manufacturing facilities, additional refining capacity and liquefied natural gas terminals.

All of the growth also has spurred job creation. According to TXOGA, Texas alone added oil and natural gas jobs for nine consecutive months through June, when the state tallied 5,000 more upstream jobs, the highest monthly gain in at least five years.

“Capital investment in Texas is changing the global energy landscape, securing America’s economy, our environment and our future,” Staples said.

The Permian today accounts for 45% of total onshore oil production in the Lower 48, with half of all the active onshore rigs working the basin. Permian output in 2016, estimated at 2.4 million b/d, already was more than the average crude oil production of nine members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries -- Algeria, Angola, Ecuador, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar and Venezuela.

The Eagle Ford Shale in South Texas also is a big contributor to the state, according to TXOGA. A “single day of natural gas production in the Eagle Ford could meet the natural gas needs of over 230,000 U.S. homes for one month,” researchers said.

Production also has elevated spending for more infrastructure, petrochemical and liquefied natural gas (LNG) investments across Texas.

New pipelines underway would connect Permian oil and gas with Texas coastal facilities in Corpus Christi and the Houston area, accounting for an estimated $6 billion-plus in investments, TXOGA said. These projects also would support more than 60,000 jobs.

Announced projects to date number 134, which should draw “$71 billion of potential investment to the Texas Gulf Coast for new chemical manufacturing facilities or expanded capacity,” researchers said.

Meanwhile, natural gas sourced from the Permian,the Eagle Ford, Barnett and Haynesville Shales has helped contribute to seven planned LNG facilities along the Gulf Coast.

“The findings of this paper strip bare arguments from oil and natural gas critics who, at first, inaccurately pushed a ‘peak oil’ theory that was to have been the downfall of American energy development,” TXOGA said. “Critics have since pivoted to equally hollow arguments that question the sustainability and national economic benefit of domestic energy production.”

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