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Permian tight oil production reached nearly 5.3 million b/d, while natural gas production hit a new record of 20.7 Bcf/d!

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This article contains still images from the interactive dashboards available in the original blog post. To follow the instructions in this article, please use the interactive dashboards. Furthermore, they allow you to uncover other insights as well.


Visit the blog to explore the full interactive dashboard

This interactive presentation contains the latest oil & gas production data from all 42,314 horizontal wells in the Permian (Texas & New Mexico) that started producing from 2007/2008 onward, through April 2023.

Total Production

Permian tight oil production grew to just below 5.3 million b/d in April (after upcoming revisions, horizontal wells only). However, April production has only been reported for a little over 70% (this is about 85% on the Texas side), which explains the drop you’re seeing for that month. April natural gas production was around 20.7 Bcf/d (also after upcoming revisions), a new record.

In the first 3 months of this year, 1,345 new horizontal wells came online, vs. 1,413 in the same period a year ago.

Drilling Activity

Drilling activity has softened by 4% since the end of April, to 333 horizontal rigs according to Baker Hughes. This was the first real decline in almost 3 years:


Number of rigs drilling horizontal wells in the Permian, by subbasin. Source: Baker Hughes. WTI (dark line) is shown on the right hand axis.


The relative popularity of the Delaware Basin is still increasing, with now 58% of the rigs active in this area of the Permian.

Supply projection

This number of active rigs (333) is however more than sufficient to maintain current output, assuming no changes in rig & well productivity. The following overview, from our Supply Projection dashboard (available to subscribers), reveals that if one assumes a drop 100 rigs from now until September 1st (top chart), Permian production will plateau at the existing level (bottom chart).


Well productivity

Fortunately it is also possible to simulate changes in well productivity over time in our interactive Supply Projection dashboard, as it appears that well productivity has been falling in the Permian. This is especially visible if one divides cumulative production by lateral length, an important metric in the industry that takes into account that lateral lengths have increased over the years:



Average well performance (avg. production rate vs. cumulative production) in the Permian, by vintage year of first production. Horizontal oil wells completed since 2011 only.


If one extrapolates these curves, you can roughly estimate the ultimate oil recovery for each of these vintages, for every 10k of lateral length.

Note that well productivity based on this metric radically increased up until about 2016, but that later wells are trending towards slightly lower EURs since, despite similar (or even higher) initial production rates. Removing any normalizing for lateral length shows that the 2020 vintage appears to be the high mark on EUR.

Gas Oil Ratios

Why does the Permian Basin, predominantly an oil basin, produce so much natural gas? An important piece of the answer to that is that there is rather a lot of natural gas produced with the oil and that the decline rate of the natural gas stream is quite a bit lower than for oil.

The following overview shows the map of all Permian horizontal wells, coloured by their recent gas/oil ratio (red is high), while the charts on the right plot the oil rate and the gas/oil ratio versus cumulative oil production:


Map displaying horizontal wells by their recent gas/oil ratio. The charts show the oil production rate (top) and the gas/oil ratio (bottom) vs. cumulative oil production

In the bottom right chart, you will see how the gas/oil ratio changes for each vintage. The 1,871 horizontal wells that came online in 2013 started producing 2 Mcf of natural gas for each barrel of oil, but are now doing 4 times as much. The rate of increase is lower for newer wells, but they are still clearly curving upward.

Top operators

In the final tab (“Top operators”) of the interactive presentation at the start of this post, the production and well positions are displayed for the 10 largest producers in the Permian Basin through March. Pioneer Natural Resources is the largest producer with almost half a million of production (Hz wells only) in recent months.


Production and completion data are subject to revisions.

Note that a significant portion of production in the Permian comes from vertical wells and/or wells that started production before 2008, which are excluded from these presentations.


For these presentations, I used data gathered from the following sources:

  • Texas RRC. Oil production is estimated for individual wells, based on a number of sources, such as lease & pending production data, well completion & inactivity reports, regular well tests, and oil production data.
  • OCD in New Mexico. Individual well production data is provided.

Visit our blog to read the full post and use the interactive dashboards to gain more insight:

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Not only are exports up over 1 mbpd a couple of refineries have added refining capacity to turn light oil from the Permian to petroleum products. 

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