‘Stunning’ Permian Basin oil production to more than double from 2017 to 2023 – IHS Markit

oil production
Permian basin production may be slowed or even shut in this year because of limited space on pipelines to transport crude out of the oil rich region.  Williams Ranch Group photo.

Oil production to reach 5.4 milliion b/d in 2023, more than current production from any OPEC member other than Saudi Arabia

Oil production in the Permian Basin, already a major force in global supply growth, will rise nearly 3 mbd by 2023—a level of growth exceeding most recent estimates,according to IHS Markit. What the report describes as a “stunning” level of growth will comprise more than 60 percent of net global production growth during that timeframe.

Total oil production in the Permian will be 5.4 mbd in 2023, more than the total production of any OPEC country other than Saudi Arabia. Nearly 41,000 new wells and $308 billion in upstream spending between 2018-2023 will drive that growth.

Production of both natural gas and natural gas liquids (NGLs) in the Permian are also expected to double during this period, reaching 15 bcf/d and 1.7 mbd, respectively.

“In the past 24 months, production from just this one region—the Permian—has grown far more than any other entire country in the world. Add an additional 3 mbd by 2023—more than the total present-day production of Kuwait—and you have a level of production that exceeds the current production of every OPEC nation except for Saudi Arabia,” said Daniel Yergin, vice chairman, IHS Markit.

The new IHS Markit Permian production outlook draws on information from the company’s proprietary Performance Evaluator database—which includes detailed information of more than one million wells globally—along with the combined analysis of IHS Markit experts covering global crude markets, North American gas, midstream and infrastructure, costs, natural gas liquids and company research.

Despite the $308 billion price tag—well above the $150 billion spent from 2012 to 2017—access to capital will not be the primary challenge for Permian oil production in coming years. Among other factors, the outlook expects wells to operate with positive cash flow, unlike prior years.

The outlook anticipates a market where oil prices stay around $60 per barrel or higher. In that price scenario, it is lags in necessary infrastructure, rather than the availability of upstream investment, that represents the greatest potential challenge, the report says.

“The infrastructure challenges in the Permian illustrate a fundamental mismatch between upstream oil producers and midstream players,” said Jim Burkhard, vice president and head of crude oil markets at IHS Markit.

“The former are focused on fast growth while the latter require sustained high utilization of infrastructure over decades for projects to be viable.”

The IHS Markit Permian production outlook factors in the assumption that some logistical bottlenecks will occur, causing some wells to be deferred to the latter half of 2019 for instance. The Permian’s robust production growth is expected even with such constraints.

“Far from a ‘best case’ forecast the IHS Markit outlook applies realistic scenarios and anticipates likely bottlenecks,” said Raoul LeBlanc, executive director and head of the IHS Markit Performance Evaluator.

“That the outlook still expects the Permian to exceed existing (and already lofty) expectations speaks to the region’s unique and growing prominence to the world oil market. The level of growth—from 0.92 mbd in 2010 to 5.4 mbd in 2023—is truly stunning.”

Summary of Key Outlook Projections:

  • Permian oil production 5.4 mbd in 2023 (116 percent increase from 2017)
  • Permian gas production 15 bcf/d in 2023 (114 percent increase from 2017)
  • Permian NGL production 1.7 mbd in 2023 (105 percent increase from 2017)
  • $308 billion in upstream spending / nearly 41,000 wells (2018-2023) in the Permian
  • Total U.S. crude exports increase from 1.1 mbd to 4 mbd (2017-2023)

Key Outlook Assumptions:

  • WTI crude oil prices, on average, of $60/bbl or higher
  • Upstream cost inflation of roughly 33 percent by 2023 relative to 2017 levels
  • Net upstream cash flow 2018-23: +$47.5 billion
  • A 2.5 mbd expansion of crude oil pipeline capacity
  • An 8.0 bcf/d expansion of natural gas pipeline capacity
  • Additional gas processing capacity of 7 bcf/d by 2023 to handle liquids-rich gas production
  • Decelerating production growth in the early 2020s due to high capital investment requirements and an assumption of little productivity improvement

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