I highly recommend a podcast sponsored by Texas Monthly, Boomtown. It’s a series about the history of the Permian Basin and the people who live and work there in the recent boom. Its host is Christian Wallace, who grew up in Andrews. You’ll get to meet his grandmother, who still lives there – quite a lady. You can download it on Apple Podcasts.
Happy New Year.
The decade now ending was the decade of the Permian Basin. Its rise in production changed the US to a net oil exporter.
Permian gas production, a byproduct of the search for oil, drove down gas prices and resulted in a frenzied effort to build pipelines to move the gas to the coast.
A couple of years ago I wrote about the history of Texas Pacific Land Trust (TPLT), one of the largest landowners in Texas. The trust was formed out of the bankruptcy of Texas Pacific Railroad, which received 3.5 million acres of land in West Texas in consideration for building the T&P Railway across the state. It went into bankruptcy in 1888, and its land was put in a trust to sell of to pay the railroad’s bondholders. Those certificates of trust were later listed on the New York Stock Exchange, where they trade under the ticker TPL. Its shares closed today at $786.44 per share, a market cap of $6.2 billion.
TPLT now owns some 888,000 acres of land. The minerals under its land were spun off into a separate company and acquired by Texaco, now Chevron – now one of the largest mineral owners in the Permian. TPLT has royalty interests under about 500,000 of those acres, in El Paso, Hudspeth, Culberson, Reeves, Pecos, Winkler, Ector, Midland and Glasscock Counties. In addition to collecting royalties the trust makes money granting easements and collecting damages from oil companies operating on its land, and has recently begun a business supplying water to the industry. Continue reading →
Below is a Drillinginfo map of players in the Permian. Also see Forbes article here. Chevron’s position is derived from Texas Pacific Land Trust‘s spinoff of minerals under TPLT’s lands, subsequently acquired by Texas. It owns fee minerals in those lands. Click on image to enlarge. As Forbes says, ripe for consolidation.
The big guys are moving into the Permian Basin.
Chevron, which owns substantial fee minerals in the Permian, saw its profits jump 19 percent in the fourth quarter, increasing its oil production 71 percent in the Permian to 310,000 bbls/day. Chevron’s completions in 2018:
Peter Huddleston, President of Huddleston & Co. and a prominent petroleum engineer and a friend, agreed to report on the status of shale plays in Texas at our firm’s land and mineral owner seminar on November 9. He kindly agreed to let me use some of his slides. You can click on all images below to enlarge.
Peter’s presentation concentrated on developments in the Eagle Ford and the Permian Basin, by far the sources of most drilling in Texas today.
The map below shows the extent of the Eagle Ford formation.
Below graph shows cumulative Eagle Ford production to date, and number of wells producing.
I recently ran across an article on Investing.com, “The Problematic Truth About U.S. Shale Oil Production,” by Dr. Ellen Wald, who hosts a podcast about global energy. Dr. Wald reports on her recent podcast discussion with Art Berman, a geology consultant and frequent speaker and author. It reminded me that I wrote about Mr. Berman several years ago, when the shale gas plays in the Marcellus and Barnett were getting started. He told Dr. Wald that the Permian shale plays have much smaller reserves than others — including the Energy Information Administration — have estimated, as little as 3.8 billion barrels.
In 2010, I wrote about Mr. Berman’s attendance at a conference in Washington sponsored by the Association for the Study of Peak Oil & Gas – USA, of which he is a director. At that time he argued that the gas reserves in the Marcellus were much smaller than were being predicted. A year earlier, Mr. Berman created a stir when he published a gloomy analysis of the Barnett Shale. He was then a contributor to World Oil, a trade publication, and World Oil refused to publish one of his articles, causing him and his editor to resign and creating a stir.
Mr. Berman was on a panel hosted by Texas Monthly in 2013, along with Scott Tinker of the UT Bureau of Economic Geology, and Kenneth Medlock, then an energy fellow at the Baker Institute. He continued to question estimates of shale oil and gas reserves. (Dr. Tinker created a wonderful website for those wanting to know more about world energy, the Switch Energy Project, worth exploring.)
My clients regularly complain of flares from wells on their property. Most leases don’t require royalty payments on flared gas, so their royalty is going up in smoke. Flares often don’t function properly, resulting in emissions of toxic gases. Flares make noise.
The Environmental Defense Fund recently released an excellent report on flaring in the Permian Basin, Permian-Flaring-Report-2017. EDF analyzed flaring and venting by 15 major producers in the Permian for the years 2014-2015. Here’s what they found (click on image to enlarge):