Two counties spur Permian growth

Associated natural gas from Lea and Eddy counties nearly doubled since 2021

Two counties in New Mexico drove much of the recent growth in Permian Basin crude oil output, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (IEA).

Output from horizontal wells in Lea and Eddy counties accounted for 29% of all crude oil production in the Permian Basin in the first quarter of 2023, averaging 1.7 million barrels per day (b/d), according to data from Enverus. The Permian Basin is the largest oil-producing basin in the United States, spanning 66 counties in southeastern New Mexico and western Texas.

Permian crude oil output increased to 5.7 million b/d in March, the most recent month for which data are available. That amount of output compares to an average of 5.3 million b/d in 2022 and 4.7 million b/d in 2021. Horizontal wells in Lea and Eddy counties accounted for 60% of total growth in the region in the first quarter of 2023, compared with 44% in first-quarter 2022.

In 2022, natural gas production in the Permian Basin also reached a new annual high, averaging 21.0 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d), primarily from associated natural gas produced from oil-directed drilling. Associated natural gas production in Lea and Eddy counties has nearly doubled since 2021; it averaged 3.7 Bcf/d in January 2021 and increased to 6.5 Bcf/d in March 2023. The two counties accounted for 28% of all natural gas production in the Permian Basin in the first quarter of 2023.

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