The Permian: America's "Super Basin"
A prolific resource stacked deep with oil and natural gas, the Permian Basin is a proving ground for producers seeking to reduce drilling costs, improve technology and expand acreage. U.S. shale players continue to fine-tune processes and add value. Many are streamlining portfolios by shedding strong assets in other regions — just to get a better foothold in America’s “Super Basin”.
A geographically gargantuan area larger than South Carolina, the Permian Basin was recently dubbed “Saudi Texas”. It holds between 500,000 and one million barrels of idle oil production capacity (compared to Saudi Arabia’s 1.5 million bbl/d capacity, via Bloomberg). Numerous pipeline new-builds and expansion projects will soon alleviate this bottleneck as midstream companies invest “tens of billions” in a field that was once declared dead.
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- Crude oil production levels reached more than 2.4 MMbbl/d — a third of which has associated gas, accounting for 11% of the nation’s total gas production.
- Permian Basin drilling has grown to 398 active rigs, an increase of 51 percent from the previous year.
- Total crude output hit 815 million barrels in 2017, breaking the record of 790 million barrels set in 1973.
- Kinder Morgan subsidiary Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. plans to boost its natural gas exports from 185 million to 468 million cubic feet per day by increasing capacity of its Permex Border Crossing Facility (between Hidalgo, TX and Reynosa, Mexico).
- ExxonMobil aims to triple total daily production by 2025, spending more than $2 billion on infrastructure to support Permian operations. The company doubled its footage drilled per day and reduced per-foot drilling costs by almost 70%.
- Chevron has budgeted $2.5 billion for shale investments in 2018 and plans to increase that number by 70% (to $4.3 billion) next year, with $3.3 billion set aside for the Permian. The company looks to increase production to over 400,000 boe/d the next several years.
- Oasis Petroleum will soon (Feb) acquire over 20,000 acres of Delaware Basin land from Forge Energy LLC to the tune of $946 million — more than $38,200 per acre!
- Four pipeline projects with a total capacity of 6.4 Bcf/d have been proposed between the Waha hub and Agua Dulce on the Gulf Coast.
- Occidental Petroleum estimates its total 2017 production for assets in the region at roughly 144,000 boe/d, ranking three of its wells in New Mexico’s Greater Sand Dunes in “the top 15 all-time best wells in the Permian Basin”.
- Apache Corp., one of the largest acreage holders in the Permian, produced 161,000 boe/d in the region in 2017, success attributed to its Midland Basin drilling program, and testing to achieve higher production volumes in the stacked Alpine High play.