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Drilling Activity Surging in the Permian Basin

Updated: Apr 12, 2019

Drilling Activity Permian Basin

The Permian Basin is named after the Permian geologic period that occurred 250 to 300 million years ago. Earth was a very different place then. There was a single supercontinent, Pangea, and an estimated 90 percent of all species were lost during the largest mass extinction ever at the end of the Permian period.

During those tens of millions of years, sedimentary rock thousands of feet deep developed as marine deposits accumulated. Today, the Permian Basin is home to one of the largest such deposits in the world. Extending from West Texas to southeastern New Mexico, it covers an area about 250 miles long and 300 miles wide. The largest component basin is the Midland, while the Delaware Basin is the second largest and the Marfa Basin ranks third.

History of Permian Oil

The Permian Basin and oil have been synonymous for almost 100 years. In 1921, drilling in Mitchell County yielded the first commercial well in what became known as the Westbrook Field. Throughout the 1920s, numerous new fields were discovered in many other counties. By 1993, cumulative oil production in the Permian Basin totaled 15 billion barrels.

Today, the Midland-Odessa area is the epicenter of the West Texas oil and gas industry. For some time, one of the oil industry’s benchmark statistics has been the price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) Crude, which further underscores the historic importance of the Permian Basin. Although the region's prodigious oil and natural gas production is widely acclaimed, it also produces potash and rock salt, a byproduct of the potash mining.

Dramatic Increase in Drilling

Upwardly trending oil prices and corporate tax cuts are driving dramatic increases in West Texas drilling activity. As of early 2018, there were almost 400 oil rigs in the Permian Basin, a noteworthy year-over-year increase of 140. Forbes reports that production in the Permian oilfield has reached 2.8 million barrels per day (BPD), ranking it second only to Saudi Arabia’s Ghawar.

In 2017, Exxon closed a $6.6 billion deal to purchase a number of oil companies from the Bass family. In January 2018, the Dallas Business Journal reported that Exxon planned to “triple its daily oil production in the Permian Basin in the next seven years.” By 2025, the company expects to be producing 600,000 BPD across the Permian Basin. Between 2018 and 2015, the multinational giant expects to increase drilling in the Midland and Delaware Basins by an estimated 500 percent.

Exxon’s embrace of Permian drilling is driven in part by improved horizontal drilling methods that have dropped costs by 70 percent per foot since 2014. Similarly, Shell says its cost to drill each well has dropped 60 percent since 2013, reaching approximately $5.5 million. Shell estimates that its new Permian wells are profitable at just $20 per barrel. In early February 2018, WTI prices were roughly triple that. For those with Permian mineral rights that they’ve inherited, it’s an excellent time to convert those assets to cash.

In February 2018, the Dallas Morning News reported that Pioneer Natural Resources was going to divest itself of all non-Permian assets in order to devote full attention to the Permian Basin, what Forbes referred to as “Saudi Texas.”

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) projects that, during an 18-month span from June 2017 to December 2018, Permian oil production will increase 555,000 BPD. Only the Gulf of Mexico is within shouting distance of such numbers, with a projected increase of 344,000 barrels during that same time period.

Increased production is stimulating pipeline development, with more than 10 new pipeline projects designed to more efficiently move Permian oil out of the area. Also, Exxon acquired a terminal in Wink, Texas, to help transport oil to its plants south of its West Texas oil rigs.

Advantages of Selling Permian Basin Mineral Rights

If you are fortunate enough to have acquired mineral rights in the Permian Basin, either through direct investment, inheritance or other means, now might be the time to consider the advantages inherent in selling them.

Many who rely on royalty payments quickly come to understand just how unreliable or inconsistent they can be. For example, if you are a newcomer to the Permian oil play because of an inheritance, you may find it bewildering to deal with the many variables of the oil and natural gas market. For many, uncertainty means stress.

Save all that time spent monitoring both the market and your holdings for more fulfilling or leisurely pursuits. You can sell your mineral rights and receive a lump sum cash payment. Then, turn your attention to putting your cash payment to use in the ways you most desire. Take that dream vacation, finance a college education, pay down debt or diversify your portfolio.

Contact Us for a Prompt Quote

Individuals who may want to sell their mineral rights can contact Clear Fork Royalty. Among them are those who inherited fractional oil and gas interests and now want to further monetize these assets.

Please contact the Clear Fork team today for a prompt, professional evaluation of your holdings. We have both the expertise and the proprietary tools to quickly evaluate your assets and to make you a cash offer, often in a matter of hours.

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