Well permitting in Texas during January was up sharply from a year ago, as were well completions. December crude oil production was also up sharply compared with a year ago, but natural gas production slipped, according to the latest figures from the Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC).

Texas preliminary December crude oil production averaged 1.41 million b/d, up 35% from 1.05 million b/d in December 2011. November figures released a month ago also showed an increase over November 2011 (see Shale Daily, Jan. 31).

The state’s oil and gas wells produced 523,344 MMcf of natural gas during December 2012 based on preliminary figures, which was down 1.4% from December 2011’s 530,874 MMcf.

The state’s top 10 oil-producing counties during December were Karnes, Andrews, De Witt, Gaines, Ector, La Salle, Gonzales, Yoakum, Midland and Upton. The top 10 gas-producing counties were Tarrant, Johnson, Webb, Panola, Pecos, Wise, Denton, Freestone, Nacogdoches and Wheeler.

The RRC issued 1,978 original drilling permits during January, up 25% from 1,581 issued in January 2012. The most recent period included 1,819 permits to drill new oil and gas wells, 36 to re-enter existing well bores and 123 for recompletions. Oil wells accounted for 603 of the permits; 138 were for gas wells; 1,172 were for oil and gas wells, and 57 were for injection wells.

In January, operators reported 1,114 oil, 351 gas, 50 injection and five “other” well completions, compared with 765 oil, 234 gas, 18 injection and three “other” well completions during January 2012. Total well completions year to date stand at 1,520, up from 1,020 during the same period last year.