‘Stunning’ West Texas Oil Production to Double by 2023, Says Report

The Associated Press
The Associated Press

The Permian Basin, already considered a major force among the world’s oil producers, will double its output to reach 5.4 million barrels per day (mbd) by 2023, according to a report released Wednesday.

The IHS Markit Permian outlook forecasts a “stunning” level of growth for the energy-rich region located in West Texas and southeastern New Mexico. It anticipates the Permian Basin could outpace productivity by all members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), except for Saudi Arabia.

“In the past 24 months, production from just this one region — the Permian — has grown far more than any other entire country in the world,” said IHS Markit Vice Chairman Daniel Yergin in a prepared statement. “Add an additional 3 mbd by 2023 — more than the total present day production of Kuwait — and you have a level of production that exceeds the current production of every OPEC nation except for Saudi Arabia.”

Last year, Saudi oil production accounted for more than 10 mbd, according to Market Realist. Online trade publication oilprice.com reported Russia’s 2017 output exceeded 10 mbd as well.

IHS Markit, a leading international business information provider, anticipates that oil from the Permian Basin will comprise more than 60 percent of the net global production growth in five years.

The outlook expects this growth will come from nearly 41,000 new wells and $308 billion in upstream spending from 2018 to 2023. Analysts expect the region’s production of natural gas and natural gas liquids (NGLs) will double with natural gas reaching 15 billion cubic feet per day (bcf/d) and natural gas liquids, hitting 1.7 mbd. IHS Markit predicts that Permian crude oil pipeline capacity will expand to 2.5 mbd and natural gas pipeline capacity will reach 8 bcf/d.

Overall, the Permian production outlook focused on the period from 2017 to 2023, basing expectations on the assumption that West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil prices will remain, on average, $60 per barrel or higher, the company stated in a press release.

The outlook relied upon IHS Markit’s proprietary Performance Evaluator database, which provided detailed information on more than one million wells worldwide, as well as analysis from their team of experts who cover global crude markets, North American gas, midstream and infrastructure, costs, and natural gas liquids. Analysts also applied realistic scenarios and factored in logistical bottlenecks they said could cause some wells to be deferred to the latter half of 2019.

IHS Markit Vice President Jim Burkhard foresaw infrastructure challenges for Permian Basin operations, stemming from a fundamental “mismatch” between upstream oil producers and midstream players.” He commented, “The former are focused on fast growth while the latter require sustained high utilization of infrastructure over decades for projects to be viable.”

Overall, the experts project robust oil production despite constraints. “That the outlook still expects the Permian to exceed existing (and already lofty) expectations speaks to the region’s unique and growing prominence to the world oil market,” said Raoul LeBlanc, IHS Markit executive director. “The level of growth — from 0.92 mbd in 2010 to 5.4 mbd in 2023 — is truly stunning.”

Recently, the Saudis invested $10 billion into their petrochemical facilities along the Texas Gulf Coast, hoping to capitalize on the U.S. oil boom largely driven by shale drilling in the Permian Basin.

In 2016, independent oil and gas consulting firm Rystad Energy released data that revealed Texas held 60 billion barrels of shale oil, more recoverable oil than in Saudi Arabia. Not long after, the U.S. Geological Survey discovered the largest shale formation of its kind in the Midland-Odessa region. It may yield 20 billion barrels of crude oil, 16 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, and 1.6 billion barrels of natural gas liquids. By year’s end, Chevron Corporation announced an aggressive plan to tap into the Permian oil resources in an attempt to triple daily crude output by 2020.

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