Energy and Environment Reporting for Texas

How Oil Drilling is Growing in Texas

Photo by AFP/Getty Images

Oil rigs drilling in Midland County

New numbers were released by the Railroad Commission of Texas this week, which oversees oil and gas drilling in the state. And not surprisingly, they show growth in drilling in Texas.

Here are some of the big takeaways from the latest numbers:

  • Drilling permits are up over last year, with 1,581 issued in January versus 1,484 during the same month last year.
  • Crude oil production is up, with 32.4 million barrels produced in December 2011, up from 29.2 million in the same month in 2010.
  • But natural gas production is down, at 530.8 million Mcf (thousand cubic feet) in December 2011 versus 559.4 Mcf in the same month in 2010.
  • The shift to more oil production and less natural gas is very apparent. In January, there were 765 oil wells completed and only 234 gas wells completed. Last January, there were 368 oil wells completed and 286 gas wells. So you’re seeing more oil wells go in, and fewer gas wells. 
  • Texas has about 47 percent of all active land rigs in the U.S., with 907 rigs operating as of February 17.
  • In the last year, Texas has produced 399 million barrels of oil and 7.1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.
  • Geographically, drilling activity is hottest in the Eagle Ford shale and the Permian Basin in Midland, both of them mostly for oil.


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