ExxonMobil Corp. on Tuesday increased its Permian Basin plans to produce more than 1 million boe/d by as early as 2024, an increase of nearly 80%.

The size of the resource base in the Permian is about 10 billion boe, and the company expects it to grow as analysis and development activities continue.

“We’re increasingly confident about our Permian growth strategy due to our unique development plans,” said Senior Vice President Neil Chapman. “We will leverage our large, contiguous acreage position, our improved understanding of the resource and the full range of ExxonMobil’s capabilities in executing major projects.

“Our plans are attractive at a range of prices and we expect them to drive more value as we continue to lower our development and production costs.”

ExxonMobil is one of the most active operators in the Permian with 48 drilling rigs now in operation, and the company plans to increase its rig count to about 55 by the end of the year.

Permian investments are expected to produce double-digit returns, even at low oil prices, according to ExxonMobil. At $35/bbl oil, for example, Permian production would have an average return of more than 10%.

The anticipated increase in production would be supported by further evaluation of the supermajor’s Delaware sub-basin. The resource is expected to fuel infrastructure development to secure capacity to transport oil and natural gas to ExxonMobil Gulf Coast refineries and petrochemical operations through the Permian Highway Project and Double E Pipeline natural gas systems, as well as the Wink-to-Webster Pipeline LLC oil pipeline.

The Kinder Morgan Inc.-led Permian Highway, a 2 Bcf/d natural gas system sanctioned last year, would transport supply through a 430-mile pipeline from Waha in West Texas to Katy, outside of Houston, with connections to the Gulf Coast and Mexico markets.

A Summit Midstream Partners LP subsidiary last fall began testing support for Double E via binding open season to move Permian gas from the New Mexico Delaware to the Gulf Coast and into Mexico. Although ExxonMobil was not linked to the project at the time, Summit said it had a long-term binding commitment with an undisclosed foundation shipper for up to 500,000 Dth/d of firm transportation capacity.

The 1 million b/d, 36-inch diameter Wink oil pipeline, advanced in late January with joint venture partners Plains All American Pipeline LP and Lotus Midstream LLC, would move oil from the Permian to the Texas coast.

ExxonMobil management said one of its key advantages in the Permian is its extensive leasehold, which runs across more than 1 million net acres. The contiguous position allows multi-well pads in large development corridors that connect to gathering systems, reduce development costs and accelerate production growth.

Infrastructure is underway to support volume growth, with construction plans at 30 sites to enhance oil and gas processing, water handling and provide takeaway capacity. Construction activities include central delivery facilities designed to handle up to 600,000 bbl of oil, 1 Bcf/d of gas and enhanced water-handling capacity through 350 miles of already constructed pipeline.

“These investments support growth plans and ensure that as production levels continue to rise, we are well positioned in processing and transportation capacity,” Chapman said.

The investment plans are expected to also reap benefits for the region in property tax revenue, economic development and creating jobs.