The Lone Star State continues to be one of the main drivers of the ongoing boom in U.S. oil and gas production. Statistics from the Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC) tell the story.
According to the RRC, oil and gas wells in Texas produced an average of more than 1.7 million barrels of crude and almost 20 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day in August, which is the most recent month for which this data is available. Both figures were up considerably from the previous month and and year-over-year.
The commission's report on drilling permits and well completions in September indicated that the sector is maintaining strong momentum, with more than 1,800 completions reported and 1,500 original drilling permits issued – the vast majority of which were for new oil and gas wells.
National production to reach key benchmark going into 2014
PIRA Energy Group and the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) have both recently released reports touting the prospect of a return to American dominance in international energy markets. According to PIRA, U.S. oil production – including natural gas liquids and biofuels – has increased by approximately 3.2 million barrels per day since 2009. The firm asserted this is the largest four-year increase that has occurred since Saudi Arabia rapidly ramped up its production during the early 1970s to relieve the pressure placed on western economies by Arab nations' embargoes.
Last month, the International Energy Agency (IEA) announced that it expects the United States to overtake Russia as the largest oil producer outside of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries next year.
"With output of more than 10 million barrels per day for the last two quarters, its highest in decades, the nation is set to become the largest non‐OPEC liquids producer by the second quarter of 2014, overtaking Russia. And that's not even counting biofuels and refinery gains," the IEA wrote.
The agency's forecast indicated that U.S. liquids production could even surpass that of Saudi Arabia during the next decade. Meanwhile, the U.S. EIA has estimated that, including oil and natural gas, the United States will be revealed the world's top producer once figures for 2013 are finalized.
Stability of energy supplies critical to economic growth
The expansion of domestic production has helped keep oil prices from spiking in response to political and social unrest in the Middle East, which has dragged down OPEC production. The bloc's collective output recently dropped below 30 million bpd for the first time in years due largely to political instability in Iraq and Libya and international sanctions targeting Iran's energy and financial sectors. Analysts at the IEA noted that these problems are likely to affect output for some time, which will make maintaining steady production levels in the United States all the more important to domestic and global energy markets.
Reliable oil and gas supplies are vital for economic growth, as unpredictable swings in the price of energy inhibit investment by undermining business and consumer confidence. Although current trends are encouraging, there will continue to be a strong need for well operators to deploy more advanced oil production equipment to keep operations running smoothly at their properties.
This is especially important in light of the shift toward "unconventional" reserves. Earlier this year, EIA analyst Philip Budzik told reporters with McClatchy's Washington Bureau that there are always unpredictable variables involved in the development of unconventional resources, which means that keeping production levels steady can be challenging.
"We are expecting oil production to increase, but there's always a lot of uncertainty about the future," Budzik said.
Implementing contemporary solutions such as the hydraulic jet pump can help well operators maintain consistent production volumes, while lowering demand on power sources.