Drilling permit applications soar in Texas

Drilling permit applications in Texas are on the rise, up 18 percent from 2012 through the first eight months of the year, according to state data.

The Texas Railroad Commission received 654 submissions for drilling permits from Jan. 1 to Sept. 1 of this year. That’s up from 555 in the same period one year ago, according to commission data. The number is also close to the recent peak of 701 drilling permit applications submitted in the same period in 2008, when a frenzy of drilling interest in Texas helped bring on an oil and gas boom.

The growth in drilling permit applications is coming as companies increasingly pursue oil resources in Texas.

Rising domestic oil prices have drawn even more attention to the booming shale plays in the Eagle Ford in South Texas and the Permian Basin in West Texas.

Saudi Texas: Texas pumping more oil than some OPEC countries

The price of West Texas Intermediate, used as a benchmark for domestic oil prices, jumped substantially this year and briefly surpassed the international oil price.

West Texas Intermediate is currently selling at about $107 a barrel, while Brent crude, a measure of international oil prices, is selling at about $114 a barrel.

Data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration illustrates the changes in oil prices since the start of 2013.