Drilling permit activity is slowing across Texas as oil prices crash to near $20 per barrel.
More than 900 exploration and production companies filed an average of 230 drilling permits per week in 2019, Railroad Commission of Texas data shows.
That activity has slowed down this month during the price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia, as well as weakened demand from the coronavirus outbreak.
From March 4 to 11, some 64 companies filed for 181 drilling permits. Those numbers fell to 59 companies filing 167 drilling permits one week later.
Nonetheless and in response to market conditions, EOG recently scaled back its 2020 drilling budget by nearly a third. The company plans to spend $4.3 billion to $4.7 billion on drilling, hydraulic fracturing and other capital projects this year.
Top 10 Drillers in Texas
(March 4 through 17)
EOG Resources 27
Pioneer Natural Resources 21
Callon Petroleum 17
Diamondback Energy 15
CrownQuest Operating 13
Chesapeake Energy 13
Exxon Mobil 13
Felix Energy 11
Cimarex Energy 9
Endeavor Energy Resources 9
Source: Railroad Commission of Texas
Irving oil company Pioneer Natural Resources cut its drilling budget by 45 percent and plans spend between $1.7 billion to $1.9 billion this year. Over the past two weeks, the company filed for 21 drilling permits to develop a series of new horizontal oil wells targeting the Spraberry field in Midland and Upton counties.
Eagle Ford Shale
Stock prices for Chesapeake Energy are trading for less than 20 cents per share but the company continues to drill. The Oklahoma City oil company plans to drill 13 new horizontal oil wells split between leases in Burleson, Dimmit and LaSalle counties. All 13 wells target the Eagle Ford geological layer.
Houston exploration and production company Sabine Oil & Gas plans to drill four horizontal gas wells in East Texas. Two wells in Rusk County target the Oak Hill field of the Cotton Valley geological layer while two in Panola County target the Carthage field of the Haynesville Shale.
An eight-week horizontal drilling permit drought came to an end in North Texas. Spring-based JBL Oil & Gas plans to drill a horizontal gas well in Parker County while Paradise-based Lakota Enregy plans to drill another in Wise County. Both wells target the Newark East field of the Barnett Shale.
Corpus Christi oil company Acock/Anaqua Operating plans to drill three vertical oil wells along the Coastal Bend. The company plans to drill three new wells on a pair of leases in Victoria County. The wells target various geological targets at vertical depths down to 7,400 feet.