Barnett Shale

Dramatic drop in Texas drilling permits continues

The Texas Railroad Commission reported a 65 percent decline in original drilling permits last month when compared to August 2014.
The Texas Railroad Commission reported a 65 percent decline in original drilling permits last month when compared to August 2014. Midland Reporter-Telegram

As if we needed another sign of the decline in oil drilling, the Texas Railroad Commission said Tuesday that it issued only 864 drilling permits in August, a 65 percent decrease from the same month last year.

The August 2015 report shows that the agency processed 730 permits to drill new oil or natural gas wells, 14 to re-enter plugged well bores and 120 to re-complete existing wells.

That compares with 2,440 permits issued in August 2014. The railroad commission regulates the oil and gas industry.

This August, the commission’s staff processed 1,113 oil, 172 gas, 36 injection and 11 other completion permits, compared with 2,157 oil, 303 gas, 92 injection and four other completions in August 2014.

Total well completions so far this year are 14,665, a 29 percent drop from the 20,657 recorded during the same period in 2014.

Last week, drillers reported that they were pulling back and idling rigs for the second week in a row because of falling oil prices.

Rigs seeking oil in the U.S. dropped by 10 to 652, according to Baker Hughes, a Houston oil field services company. Companies had cut 13 the previous week. In Texas, the rig count was 366, or about 43 percent of the nation’s active rigs.

Max B. Baker: 817-390-7714, @MaxbakerBB

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