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Oil And Gas Permitting In The U.S. Slows Down

Oil and gas permitting in the United States slowed down last month, with the decline particularly marked in the Permian.

This is according to data from Evercore ISI, cited by Natural Gas Intelligence, which also showed that despite the slowdown in permitting activity, it remained stronger than it was a year ago.

In absolute numbers, oil and gas permits issued in the Lower 48 last month were 3,106 fewer than those issued in July. Yet the August total was 27 percent higher than the number of permits issued in August 2021 and 178 percent higher than the number of permits issued in August 2020, the investment bank’s data also showed.

The decline in permitting was not distributed evenly across oil and gas regions, either. According to Evercore ISI, the Powder River Basin spanning Montana and Wyoming saw the biggest increase in permit issuance, at 134 permits. On the other hand, the Haynesville shale saw a drop in permits, to the tune of 173 permits.

“Permits in the Permian represented 37% of the total count, down from 40% in July,” the bank’s analysts noted. “The Eagle Ford was the basin with the second largest count share with 13%, followed by the Powder River Basin and other smaller plays with 10% each.”

The Permian has seen some declines in drilling activity recently but last week things picked up, with three new rigs added to the active count of the shale play. For the whole of Texas, however, Evercore ISI noted a decline in drilling permit issuance, as it did for New Mexico. The two states share the Permian.

Crude oil production in the United States currently stands at 12.1 million bpd, unchanged for the last three weeks, according to the latest weekly EIA estimates. U.S. production levels are up 400,000 bpd on the year, and up 2 million bpd versus a year ago.

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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