Permian - update through February 2018

This interactive presentation contains the latest oil & gas production data from all 15,026 horizontal wells in the Permian (Texas & New Mexico) that started producing since 2009/2010, through February.

Oil production in the Permian from horizontal wells already passed 2 million bo/d in November, and has continued going higher since, even before upcoming upward revisions.

In fact, the current pace of completions of around 10 wells per day, combined with a roughly estimated 300-400 thousand barrels of oil average ultimate recovery (guessed from the chart further down) would support a far higher long-term production capacity of ~3-4 million bo/d. That is, if no other bottlenecks would turn up, and if nothing else changes, both of which are of course unrealistic assumptions. But it does show that the growth story may not be over yet for some time to come.

More horizontal wells were completed in 2017 (3,221 based on the latest count) than in any previous year, and well productivity even slightly improved in 2017 (see the ‘Well quality’ overview).

The final tab shows the performance of the 5 leading operators in this region. The largest operator, Pioneer Natural Resources, is now over 200 kbo/d (gross operated production, from horizontal wells only), double the volume it produced just 2 years ago.


The ‘Advanced Insights’ presentation is displayed below:



This “Ultimate recovery” overview shows the average production rate for these wells, plotted against their cumulative recovery. Wells are grouped by the quarter in which production started.

You can see that recent wells recover on average ~140 thousand barrels of oil in the first year on production, which wells from before 2015 have so far not even managed to do.

The 9th tab (‘Gas Oil Ratio’) shows that gas production has grown in tandem with that of oil, and the average gas/oil ratio has remained fairly steady over the years, unlike the Bakken in North Dakota, where it has recently risen significantly.

Later this week I will have an update on all 10 covered states in the US, followed by posts next week on the Niobrara and the Appalachian basin.

Production data is subject to revisions.

You can follow us here on Twitter.

Note that a significant portion of production in the Permian comes from vertical wells and/or wells that started production before 2010, 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 proration data.
  • OCD in New Mexico. Individual well production data is provided.


The above presentations have many interactive features:

  • You can click through the blocks on the top to see the slides.
  • Each slide has filters that can be set, e.g. to select individual or groups of operators. You can first click “all” to deselect all items. You have to click the “apply” button at the bottom to enforce the changes. After that, click anywhere on the presentation.
  • Tooltips are shown by just hovering the mouse over parts of the presentation.
  • You can move the map around, and zoom in/out.
  • By clicking on the legend you can highlight selected items.
  • Note that filters have to be set for each tab separately.
  • The operator who currently owns the well is designated by “operator (current)”. The operator who operated a well in a past month is designated by “operator (actual)”. This distinction is useful when the ownership of a well changed over time.
  • If you have any questions on how to use the interactivity, or how to analyze specific questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.


  • Sjoerd says:

    Hi Enno,

    Would it be possible to split up the formations into smaller parts? For example Wolfcamp A, B, C, D?



    1. Enno says:

      Hi Sjoerd,

      This is indeed an area that we plan to make further improvements. Unfortunately, this data is also typically harder to get, but we may be able to obtain it from different sources.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *