Overall oil production in Texas declined somewhat in January from December, according to preliminary January production figures from the Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC). But the Eagle Ford Shale kept on pumping, with leading Eagle Ford counties charting substantial oil production increases from year-ago levels.

The Eagle Ford Shale reaches into more than two dozen Texas counties, but among these Atascosa, Dimmit, Gonzales, LaSalle and McMullen have been leading oil producers. According to preliminary data, the five counties produced 6.55 million bbl of oil during January, which is up from 3.95 million bbl produced in the five counties in January 2012, an increase of about 66%. However, January’s total for the five counties is down slightly from 6.63 million bbl produced in December 2012.

Oil production in RRC District 1, which includes the five counties and about 35 others, was 7.39 million bbl in January, down from 7.54 million bbl in December but up from 4.88 million bbl in January 2012.

Compared to a year ago, production was up about 36% in Atascosa County, up 76% in Dimmit, 62% in Gonzales, 93% in LaSalle, and 36% in Gonzales.

Overall, Texas crude production declined in January to about 44.24 million bbl from 47.37 million bbl in December. Natural gas production also declined, to 532.73 MMcf from 561.13 MMcf in December. However, January 2013 production figures are preliminary, and RRC’s preliminary data is usually revised upward.

Last year Texas producers boosted crude oil production for the third straight year, lifting statewide output by nearly 100 million bbl to 604 million bbl, according to the year-end report issued by the economist who compiles the monthly Texas Petro Index. The estimated 2012 annual production volume is the highest statewide total since 1992, when producers recovered 613 million bbl (see Shale Daily, Jan. 29).