What to know about the oil and gas industry in Texas and New Mexico
Construction has begun on the first phase of the EPIC NGL Pipeline project.
Texas has always been the biggest player when it comes to energy.
Nearly half of the oil and gas rigs operating in the United States are pumping in the Lone Star State, according to the latest data from the Energy Information Agency.
But it's far from alone.
New Mexico is no slouch, either, thanks largely to the Permian Basin, the nation's most active energy play.
Budget officials in the Land of Enchantment say the state is on pace to collect $275 million more in revenues, a trend they credit to strong oil production in southeastern New Mexico.
"It's our bread and butter," said Missi Currier, president/CEO for the Economic Development Corp. of Lea County, in Hobbs, New Mexico.
Currier said Hobbs, Roswell and other New Mexico communities within reach of the Permian Basin have experienced population shifts that are tied to the oil and gas industry. She held out hope continued energy growth would eventually lead to increased spending for schools, road improvements and other quality-of-life ventures.
"It is our economic engine ... but we're hopeful it can also open the door to diversification," Currier said.
Here's what you need to know:
What is the Permian Basin?
Size — Spans roughly 250 miles wide, 300 miles long; includes the Texas counties of Andrews, Borden, Crane, Dawson, Ector, Gaines, Glasscock, Howard, Loving, Martin, Midland, Pecos, Reeves, Terrell, Upton, Ward, and Winkler.
History — The area was once covered by the Permian Sea, hence its name.
Strong production — It's credited with some of the nation's greatest oil production gains in recent years, including those during the recession. Oil production in the Permian Basin has increased fourfold since August 2011 to more than 4 million barrels daily this year.
What is Eagle Ford?
Eleven years and counting — A company once known as Petrohawk Energy Corp., is credited with drilling the first Eagle Ford wells in 2008, in LaSalle County, Texas. The company’s discovery well flowed at a rate of 7.6 million cubic feet of gas per day.
International ties — It extends across Texas from the Mexican border into East Texas, and is roughly 50 miles wide and 400 miles long. It encompasses more than two dozen Texas counties, including Webb County, where Laredo is located. Mexico has changed its energy policy in recent years, opening the door to additional economic growth on its side of the border.
How big is big — Some experts estimate it contains about 3 billion in oil reserves and 50.2 trillion cubic feet of gas.
Who's producing what?
Energy plays are scattered throughout the country, but the most prolific and productive are in Texas and New Mexico.
- Number of rigs (as of Aug. 16): 111
- Number of rigs (August 2018): 104
- Number of rigs (as of Aug. 16): 450
- Number of rigs (August 2018): 525
Rest of U.S.
- Number of rigs (as of Aug. 16): 374
- Number of rigs (August 2018): 426
Regional energy play rig counts
- Number of rigs (as of Aug. 16): 1
- Number of rigs (August 2018): 2
- Number of rigs (as of Aug. 16): 67
- Number of rigs (August 2018): 79
- Number of rigs (as of Aug. 16): 50
- Number of rigs (August 2018): 48
- Number of rigs (as of Aug. 16): 441
- Number of rigs (August 2018): 486
Delivering crude oil from Permian Basin to Texas Gulf Coast
Getting oil from one place to another factors heavily into some energy companies' profit margins.
Consider what San Antonio-based EPIC Midstream Holdings LP has been doing.
The company plans is in the final stages of running a pipeline system from the Permian Basin to the Texas Gulf Coast, where its products can be more easily shipped.
EPIC announced Monday its pipeline, which extends from Orla to the Port of Corpus Christ, had begun delivering crude.
The South Texas port is also working to dredge and widen its ship channel to accommodate larger Suezmax tankers that carry up to 1 million barrels in a single haul.
A barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude on Tuesday traded for $55.30, down about $6 from a year ago and from nearly $100 in 2014. Brent sold for $60.25.
Chris Ramirez writes about energy, commerce and all things business. Help support local journalism with a digital subscription to the Caller-Times.