Permian – update through February 2017

This interactive presentation contains the latest oil & gas production data from 11148 selected horizontal wells in the Permian (Texas & New Mexico) that started producing since 2010 (2009 for New Mexico), through February 2017.

As the above graphs shows, oil production in this basin has kept rising through the first 3 quarters of 2016. Because data for the last couple of months is very incomplete in especially Texas, I expect that, once revisions are in, we will see that this rise has continued since.

In the “Well quality” tab the production profiles for all these wells are shown, averaged by the year in which production started. You can see in the bottom chart there that while a 2013 well needed 4 years to reach a cumulative production of 100k barrels of oil, on average, by 2015 this was only 15 months, and 2016 wells need only roughly 9 months to get to this mark.

The status of all these wells is shown in the “Well status” tab. The steep drop in new wells flowing in the last few months is more indicative of the incompleteness of the data, than of an actual decline in completion activity. The bottom chart there shows the production level of all wells by % of total. This mix of different production levels has remained remarkably steady over time.

The last tab (“Top operators”) shows the performance and location of the largest operators. Pioneer Natural Resources and Concho Resources both appear to be vying for the top spot. Note that, as is usual in my presentations, this only includes the production from horizontal wells.

The ‘Advanced Insights’ presentation is displayed below:



This “Ultimate recovery” overview shows how all these horizontal wells progress towards their ultimate recovery, as their production rate slows down over time. All wells are grouped by the quarter in which they started production.

The graph clearly shows how well performance has improved over time, and what this could mean for their ultimate recovery. Extrapolating the curves for the wells that started in 2016, leads to a recovery of about 300k barrels of oil per well before they hit a production rate of 20 bo/d. This is in sharp contrast with the 2012/2013 wells that only manage to reach about 1/3rd of that (100 kbo) at such a rate. This of course assumes that these decline patterns hold up over time, which is not a given.

In the “Well status map” the status and location of all these wells are shown. For Texas not all well statuses are available.

By Wednesday I expect to publish an update on North Dakota, followed by one on all all covered US states on Friday.

Production data is subject to revisions, especially for the last few months in Texas.

Note that a significant portion of oil 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. I’ve estimated individual well production from well status & lease production data, as these are otherwise not provided. Because of these estimations, I recommend looking at larger samples (>50 wells) before drawing conclusions. About 7% of the horizontal Permian wells in Texas are excluded, as these were mixed with too many vertical wells on a lease, making reasonable well profile estimations impossible. I’ve no spud, DUC, or plugging information on wells in Texas, so these statuses are unavailable. Detailed location data is available for all New Mexico wells, and for almost 95% of the Texan wells displayed; the remaining wells are shown near the center of the county in which they are located. Formation data in Texas is only available on lease level; therefore in cases where wells on the same lease are drilled in different formations, this information is not accurate.
  • OCD in New Mexico. Accurate individual well production data is provided.


The above presentation has 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.