Shale-rich Texas keeps chin up during downturn

Texas shale one of the only ones expected to show an increase next month.

By Daniel J. Graeber

MIDLAND, Texas, Nov. 11 (UPI) -- Despite the market downturn, a Texas regulator said oil and gas production in the shale-rich state continued to grow because operators are more efficient.

"Texas is stronger today because of oil and gas shale development," David Porter, chairman of the regulator Texas Railroad Commission, told those gathered for an annual executive oil conference in Midland, Texas.


Texas is the top producer in the nation. Total oil production for August, the last full month for which data are available, was roughly 2.8 million barrels per day, more than 10 percent lower than for January. Total gas production of 20.8 million cubic feet per day for August was about 13 percent less than January.

Energy companies are spending less on exploration and production because of capital starvation during an era of historically low crude oil prices, which are down about 12 percent from the start of the year.

Oil services company Baker Hughes reported 340 rigs actively exploring for or producing oil and natural gas for the week ending Nov. 6. That's down 62 percent from the same week last year.


In a report on drilling productivity, however, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said some of the Texas shale basins remained resilient despite the downturn. Of the shale reserves in the nation that account for the bulk of new U.S. production, only the Permian shale in western Texas is expected to show an increase in output from November to December.

"We've maintained record production levels -- in the face of major challenges -- here in Texas because industry has become more innovative and more efficient, and that is an accomplishment to be very proud of," Porter said.

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