Texas operators are turning their attention to old business — completing previously drilled wells — rather than drilling new ones, according to Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC) data.

Operators completed more wells in April than they did one year ago; however, total completions are still behind where they were at this time last year. Meanwhile, permitting for new wells is way down compared to a year ago.

In April, operators reported 1,867 oil, 314 gas, 125 injection and one “other” completions compared to 1,012 oil, 92 gas, 21 injection and four “other” completions in April 2014, RRC said Wednesday. The data show an 84% increase in oil well completions from the year-ago period and a 241% increase in natural gas well completions, which is a reversal of the trend for fewer completions seen in RRC’s February data (see Shale Daily,March 30).

Well completions year to date are 8,253, which is still down from 11,259 recorded during the same period in 2014.

According to RRC data released one month ago, in March operators had turned their attention to completing natural gas wells while completing fewer oil wells compared with March 2014 (see Shale Daily, April 28).

In April RRC issued 848 original drilling permits, fewer than half the 1,919 issued in April 2014. The latest tally includes 721 permits to drill new oil and gas wells, nine to re-enter existing well bores and 118 for recompletions. There were 218 oil permits issued, 51 gas, 530 oil and gas, 40 injection, zero service and nine “other” permits.

The average Texas rig count as of May 22 was 372, representing about 44% of all active land rigs in the United States, according to Baker Hughes Inc. data cited by RRC. Before the oil price collapse, Texas had about half of the country’s operating rigs. Since then, both the Permian Basin and Eagle Ford Shale have seen sharp weekly declines in activity, but that appears to be at or near a plateau (see Shale Daily, May 22).

Texas preliminary March crude oil production averaged 2.31 million b/d, up from the 2.01 million b/d average of March 2014. The preliminary crude production figure for March is 71.59 million bbl, up from 62.45 million bbl reported during March 2014.

Oil and gas wells produced 614. 35 Bcf of natural gas based upon preliminary figures for March, up from the March 2014 preliminary total of 593.20 Bcf. Preliminary March total gas production averaged 19.82 Bcf/d. Production came from 163,097 oil wells and 90,555 gas wells.

Estimated final production for March is 84.88 million bbl of crude oil and 533.17 Bcf of gas well gas. RRC derives estimated final production numbers by multiplying the preliminary March production totals of 71.59 million bbl of crude oil and 459.75 Bcf of gas well gas by an adjustment factor of 1.1857 for crude oil and 1.1597 for gas well gas. Totals do not include casinghead gas or condensate.

In March 2014, crude oil production was 75.79 million bbl and natural gas well gas production was 546.55 Bcf, according to RRC data.

RRC said that in the last 12 months, total Texas reported production was 939 million bbl of oil and 8.3 Tcf of natural gas.