Permian – update through February 2019

These interactive presentations contain the latest oil & gas production data from all 20,349 horizontal wells in the Permian (Texas & New Mexico) that started producing since 2008/2009, through February 2019.

The breakneck growth in Permian production during the past 2 years appears to have taken a breather, at least temporarily. I expect that after revisions, production in February will come in 5-10% higher than shown here, or about 3.2-3.3 million bo/d. This would represent just a modest gain from the end of last year. Gas production is now above 10 Bcf/d.

We sometimes get questions about whether our oil numbers include NGLs. That is not the case; many states do not require operators to report NGLs, and we therefore do not publish them either. If condensate is reported separately, we add it to the oil figures.

The “Well quality” tab shows the production profiles of these 20 thousand horizontal wells. They are grouped and averaged by the year in which production began. You can easily see there that initial well productivity has increased further in the past 2 years, although less than in the period from 2013 and 2016. The wells that started in 2018 are on a path to recover almost 150 thousand barrels of oil in the first year on production, on average.

However, this does not take into account that laterals have gotten longer, and that more proppants are used nowadays. If you normalize for either of these factors, as is possible in our advanced analytics service, you’ll find that well productivity already topped out in the middle of 2016.

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.

As you can see here, peak rates are still going up. The more than a thousand wells that started in the final quarter of 2018 peaked at 880 bo/d, on average. They’re on a path to recover each around 300 thousand barrels of oil, before they’ve declined to a rate of 50 bo/d.

The following screenshot (also from our advanced analytics service) shows how total oil production has developed in the top 8 producing counties in the Permian.


Top 8 producing counties in the Permian (right-click for high-resolution version)

Output in each of these counties has risen strongly in the past three years. The locations of the related horizontal wells are shown on the map.

Later this week we will have a post on the Eagle Ford. Tomorrow at noon (ET) we will present a briefing on all the major shale oil basins in the US, in our ShaleProfile channel on enelyst. If you’re interested, register here for free: enelyst registration page.

Production data is 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 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.


  • Carl says:

    December 2017 daily oil production from 2017 wells – 1,364,260
    February 2018 daily oil production from 2017 wells – 1,207,069
    2017 wells decline in first two months of 2018 – 11.5%

    December 2018 daily oil production from 2018 wells – 1,978,782
    February 2019 daily oil production from 2018 wells – 1,594,214
    2018 wells decline in first two months of 2019 – 19.4%

    Does anyone know if the 2018 wells are actually declining faster than 2017 wells did…or is it due to the lag in Texas reporting? Thanks.

  • Enno says:

    Hi Carl,

    Thanks for the comment and question.

    The best places to look for average well decline are the “Well quality” and “Ultimate recovery” overviews.

    The problem with your above analysis is that it doesn’t consider a couple of factors; for example the detailed start date of wells in these 2 years. In 2017, a large number of wells came online in Q4, while in 2018, Q4 completion numbers were the lowest.

    At this moment I can’t really see in the data that 2018 wells are declining faster than the ones from 2017.

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