Permian Basin on track to be top shale oil producer
South Texas’s Eagle Ford shale may get all the attention, but West Texas’s Permian basin is giving it a run for its money.
Between January and June, Permian basin oil production has surpassed Eagle Ford’s — 889,808 barrels a day versus 598,706 barrels a day in the South Texas formation, this story in the Houston Business Journal said, citing numbers from the Texas Railroad Commission, which regulates the state’s energy sector.
Permian is likely to reach 2 million barrels a day within five years, eventually filling the gap as production from North Dakota’s Bakken shale moderates.
Eagle Ford is on track to produce 930,000 barrels a day this year and the Bakken’s Williston Basin is seen producing a little over a million barrels in 2013. But that’s expected to flip in 2014. Permian is forecast to produce 1.4 million barrels a day this year, the newspaper said.
Eagle Ford is expected to keep its current pace while production from the Permian will pick up, mostly due to increased horizontal drilling.
Horizontal drilling, though in the news much less than “fracking”, has played a key role in boosting domestic production. While not new, the technique, combined with hydraulic fracturing, has made the shale “revolution” possible.
The Permian basin is an old oil field that has been developed for many years. OXY is the largest property owner with 2.5 million acres and the largest producer with 15% of production. There are different types of reservoirs in the basin. Approximately two-thirds of Oxy’s Permian Basin oil production is from fields that actively employ carbon dioxide (CO2) flooding, an enhanced oil recovery (EOR) technique in which CO2 is injected into oil reservoirs, causing the trapped oil to flow more easily and efficiently. Oxy’s 2.5 million net acres in the Permian contain new plays such as the Avalon shale, Bone Spring, Wolfbone/Wolfcamp, Cline shale, Wolfberry and Delaware.