March drilling permits up, but well completions still remain low

The state of Texas issued more than 1,300 drilling permits in March, more than double the number of permits issued a year ago, when the price of oil had plunged to $26.

The Railroad Commission of Texas, the state’s oil and gas regulator, issued 1,310 permits, more than 1,100 of which were oil and gas wells, according to monthly statistics released last week. Fifty one of those drilling permits were for injection wells, which are used to dispose of wastewater or for enhanced oil recovery, a process that injects water or carbon dioxide underground to force oil to the surface.

The commission approve 511 drilling permits in March of last year.

But overall well completions were still down as compared to last year. Last month, the commission counted 663 oil and gas well completions, as compared to 1,141 well completions in March 2016. Total well completions for the year to date are 1,925, down nearly 50 percent from the 3,452 well completions in the first three months of 2016.