Permian Basin Information

Map of active oil (green dots) and gas wells (red dots) in the Permian Basin. Click on map to view a higher resolution image.
Map of active oil wells (green dots) and
gas wells (red dots) in the Permian Basin.

Texas Counties in the Permian Basin
Texas Counties in the Permian Basin.  
Click on map to view higher resolution image.

General Information | Statistics | Counties Affected | Tell Us What You Think | Jurisdiction Information | Water Issues | FAQs

What is the Permian Basin?

The Permian Basin is an oil-and-gas-producing area located in West Texas and the adjoining area of southeastern New Mexico. The Permian Basin covers an area approximately 250 miles wide and 300 miles long. Various producing formations such as the Yates, San Andres, Clear Fork, Spraberry, Wolfcamp, Yeso, Bone Spring, Avalon, Canyon, Morrow, Devonian, and Ellenberger are all part of the Permian Basin, with oil and natural gas production ranging from depths from a few hundred feet to five miles below the surface. The Permian Basin remains a significant oil-producing area, producing more than 270 million barrels of oil in 2010 and more than 280 million barrels in 2011.  The Permian Basin has produced over 29 billion barrels of oil and 75 trillion cubic feet of gas and it is estimated by industry experts to contain recoverable oil and natural gas resources exceeding what has been produced over the last 90 years.  Recent increased use of enhanced-recovery practices in the Permian Basin has produced a substantial impact on U.S. oil production.

The Permian Basin is composed of more than 7,000 Railroad Commission (RRC) fields, and is best represented in RRC production figures as RRC districts 7C, 08, and 8A, covering 59 counties in West Texas (see list below).  However, the majority of the current development in the Permian Basin may be attributed to certain specific fields.  Please see the graphs in the section below for rankings and production/well counts for the top largest fields in the Permian Basin.


Drilling Permits Issued
Crude Oil Production
Total Natural Gas Production
Condensate Production

New Drilling  Permits Issued (excluding amendments and recompletions):
YearDrilling Permits Issued
2005 4,435
2006 4,737
2007 4,703
2008 6,178
2009 3,323
2010 6,830
2011 9,235
2012 9,335

(Permit data obtained from RRC W-1 query on 03/27/2013.)

Please see graph below for additional information

Historical drilling permits
Crude Oil Production:
YearOil Produced (million barrels)
2005 253
2006 252
2007 251
2008 260
2009 260
2010 270
2011 295
2012 312

(Production data obtained from RRC Production Data Query on 03/27/2013.)

Please see graph below for additional information

Total  production by year
Oil  production by year
Casinghead  gas production by year
Condensate  production by year
Gas well  gas production by year

(Data for each graph obtained from RRC Production Data Query on 03/27/2013.)

Top  Permian Basin Fields:
Top 10  highest producing fields (part 1 of 2)
Top 10  highest producing fields (part 2 of 2)
Top 50  highest injection/disposal well counts
Top 50  highest oil well counts
Top 50  highest producing fields (cumulative historical total)
Top 50  highest producing fields (1993–2012)

(Well count and historical field data obtained from RRC proration schedule on 03/01/2013.  Field production data obtained from RRC Production Data Query on 03/27/2013.)

Total  cumulative oil production (1921 to present):
28,478,229,290  (approximately 29 billion barrels)

For calendar year 2012 (the most recent total production year available),the Texas Permian Basin’s crude oil production accounts for 57 percent of Texas’ statewide total crude oil production or approximately 430 million barrels. For all Texas liquid production including crude oil and condensate (condensate is the liquid hydrocarbons produced with natural gas including butane, propane, etc.), the Permian Basin represents 51 percent of the total statewide Texas liquid production or approximately 509 million barrels of crude oil plus condensate), per current Commission production reports.  The Permian Basin accounts for 14 percent of the total annual U.S. oil production  or approximately 2 billion barrels according to data obtained from the U.S. Energy Information Administration .  Statewide, Texas’ annual crude oil production represents about 25 percent of the total U.S. oil production.

Wells  carried on the RRC proration schedule:
Currently  133,000 total wells are carried on the proration schedule in the Permian Basin,  22,000 of which are listed as active injection/disposal wells and 82,000 of  which are listed as active producing wells. The RRC proration schedule is a list of oil and gas wells on schedule to produce and submit monthly production reports to the RRC.

Permian Basin Rig Count (data obtained from Baker Hughes Rig Count webpage):
YearRig Count
2005 129
2006 158
2007 191
2008 218
2009 103
2010 237
2011 355
2012 415

(Data obtained from Baker Hughes  Rig Count on 03/27/2013.)

In 2010 there were approximately  47,000 Oil & Gas related employees associated with activities in the  Permian Basin according to data obtained from the Texas Workforce Commission.

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Permian Basin Counties


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What does the Railroad Commission have jurisdiction over  and whom to contact?
The  Railroad Commission regulates the exploration and production of oil and natural  gas in Texas. The Commission’s primary responsibilities include:  preventing waste of oil and gas resources; protection of surface and subsurface  water; and, ensuring all mineral interest owners have an opportunity to develop  their fair share of the minerals underlying their property.  
The RRC has provided an information page containing links to  city, county, state, and federal governments within the Permian Basin area.
For further information, contact our district offices.

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What does the Railroad Commission NOT have  jurisdiction over and whom to contact?
The Railroad Commission does not have  jurisdiction over roads, traffic, noise, odors, leases, pipeline easements, or  royalty payments.
Roads and Traffic:  The Railroad Commission  does not have jurisdiction over, and exercises no regulatory authority with  respect to, private or public roads or road use.  Permits issued by the  Commission for oil and gas exploration, production, and waste disposal do not  limit any independent authority of a municipality, county or other state  agencies with respect to road use.
The  Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT) oversees the construction and maintenance  of state highways within their jurisdiction. In addition, TXDOT is responsible  for issuing access permits to well sites from a roadway on the state highway  system. Please review letter for specific access  permit requirements. To contact the appropriate district office, visit  the Texas Department of Transportation, Local Information website. For county or city contact  information, visit the Texas Association of Counties.
Noise: The Commission has no statutory authority over noise or nuisance related issues. Noise and nuisance related issues are  governed by local ordinances.
Odors and Air Contaminants: The Railroad  Commission does not have regulatory authority over odors or air contaminants.  However, for a well within the city limits, the city may enact ordinances  regarding odors or other nuisances. In addition, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) has jurisdiction over odor and air contaminants.  Please see
Oil and Gas Exploration and Surface  Ownership: For general information pertaining to exploration and surface ownership, please visit the Oil and Gas Exploration and Surface Ownership webpage.
Royalty payments:   For general  information pertaining to leases and royalties, please visit the General  Information Pertaining to Leases and Royalties webpage.

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Top Questions Asked about the Permian Basin

Please contact us with comments and suggestions concerning the Permian Basin Information web area.

Last Updated: 1/8/2016 5:20:13 PM