January drilling permits up from 2016

The number of drilling permits filed to the Railroad Commission of Texas in January was nearly double what it was a year ago, a sign that the oil and gas industry is recovering as oil prices hover over $50 a barrel.

The commission, which regulates the oil and gas industry, issued 956 permits last month, compared to 510 in January 2016, when the price of oil was just under $30. Most of the drilling permits filed last month were for oil or gas wells, and 18 were for injection wells, which can be used for enhanced oil recovery or disposal, according to commission data.

While permit numbers are up, well completions for year-to-date are a third of what they were a year ago. Thus year, well completions for this year are at 536, down more than 1,200 from this time last year.