Texas production could double by 2020, industry regulator says

Booming resource plays that show no signs of slowing could push Texas’ crude oil production to 4 million barrels per day by 2020, doubling its 2012 rate, a top state industry regulator said Thursday.

That would “put us in league with some of the biggest oil producers on the planet,” said Barry Smitherman, chairman of the Texas Railroad Commission, at an oil and gas conference hosted by Bloomberg.

Smitherman spoke during a morning panel on the outlook for U.S. oil production and prices, kicking off a tightly packed day’s worth of industry insight at the Museum of Natural Science in Houston.

Oil boom: Texas pumping more oil than some OPEC countries

The statewide rush to produce the high-priced commodity could push production levels to 2.5 million barrels per day by late 2014, he said. And the Eagle Ford Shale in South Texas, which “shows no sign of abating,” could jump from 600,000 barrels per day to 900,000 barrels per day in the next few years, he said.

“Every time I have a presentation, my numbers are outdated by the time I put the slides together,” he said.

The United States’ increase in oil production — which jumped to 6.5 million barrels per day in 2012 from 5.4 million barrels per day in 2010 — has kept commodity prices contained even while Iran and Libya curb supply levels, said Francisco Blanch, head of global commodities and derivatives research and Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

“I love the narrative that we lost Iran and Libya and we gained Texas,” Smitherman said.

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