By the Numbers: Drilling in Texas

Photo by Mira Oberman/AFP/Getty Images

County Sheriff Gary Painter stands next to a pump jack outside of Midland, Texas in 2008

Are you curious how many new wells went into the ground over the last year in Texas? How much oil and gas was taken out of it? New numbers from the Railroad Commission of Texas, which oversees drilling in the state, were released today:

  • More Permits, More Wells. The commission approved 1,771 drilling permits last month, compared to 1,515 last October. That includes “1,567 permits to drill new oil and gas wells, 57 to re-enter existing well bores, and 147 for re-completions,” according to a commission press release.
  • Oil Production is Up. The daily average for oil production in Texas was 1.01 million barrels a day for September. For the month, 30.33 million barrels of crude oil were produced, compared with 28.15 million barrels of crude the September before.
  • Gas Production is Down. For September, wells produced over 527 million Mcf (thousand cubic feet) of gas, down from 553 million the September before.
  • More Wells for Producing Oil, Less for Natural Gas. Last month industry “completed” (finished drilling and had the wells ready for production) 704 oil wells, compared to 451 the year before. Newly completed gas wells, however, were down slightly, at 229 from 259 the year before. Overall, the total number of “well completions” for the year to date are down for the year, with a total of 6,900 completed so far this year compared to 8,723 during the same period last year.
  • Where are they Drilling Most? Not surprisingly, in the San Antonio area, home to the Eagle Ford Shale, where 282 permits were issued to drill for oil and gas, and 73 oil wells and 20 gas wells were completed. The next highest permit numbers go to the Refugio and Southeast Texas areas, also home to the Eagle Ford Shale. These areas account for an additional 207 new permits, and 63 completed wells, 42 of them gas wells.
  • Who’s Producing the Most Oil? The top oil producers are all in West Texas, home to the oil towns of Midland and Odessa in West Texas. Between them, they produced 15.3 million barrels of crude oil in July. Not one of the top ten oil producing counties comes from outside of this area.
  • Who’s Producing the Most Gas? The top gas producers come from Tarrant and Johnson counties, home to the Barnett Shale, which surrounds the city of Fort Worth.

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