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Permian Basin crude oil production

Hydrocarbon Engineering,

According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), the Permian Basin in Texas and New Mexico is the nation’s most prolific oil producing area. Six formations within the basin have provided the bulk of Permian’s 60% increase in oil output since 2007.

Crude oil production in the Permian Basin has increased from 850 000 bpd in 2007 to 1.35 million bpd in 2013. Largely as a result of this growth, crude oil production from Permian Basin counties has exceeded production from the federal offshore Gulf of Mexico region since March 2013, making the Permian Basin the largest crude oil producing region in the US.

According to the EIA, the Permian Basin accounted for 18% of total US crude oil production in 2013. Recent increases in production is largely concentrated in six low-permeability formations, including the Spraberry, Wolfcamp, Bone Spring, Glorieta, Yeso, and Delaware formations.

Almost 75% of the increase came from the Spraberry, Wolfcamp, and Bone Spring formations. Counties in these three formations have driven the increase in the Permian Basin’s horizontal, oil-directed rig activity in recent months. Production from the three formations increased from approximately 140 000 bpd in 2007 to approximately 600 000 bpd in 2013, increasing their share of total Permian oil production from 16 – 44%.

Three other formations-the Delaware formation and the adjacent Glorieta and Yeso formations-also increased production from 2007 to 2013. Production from these three formations rose from 61 000 bpd in 2007 to approximately 112 000 bpd in 2013.

The EIA explains that the Permian Basin region encompasses an area approximately 250 miles wide and 300 miles long, and it contains many potentially productive low permeability oil formations. Although oil production has previously come from the more permeable portions of the Permian formations, the application of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing has opened up large and less permeable portions of these formations for commercial production. This is true for the Spraberry, Wolfcamp, and Bone Spring formations, which have initial well production rates comparable to those found in the Bakken and Eagle Ford shale formations.

Adapted from a press release by Emma McAleavey.

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