Join us April 25 - 27 in The Woodlands at Enverus' 2022 EVOLVE Conference
Learn More

Midland Basin Update: The Permian’s Older and Wiser Half


Previously we have discussed the Permian Basin in quite a lot of detail, historic and current context, geological framework, and a number of operator analyses. In terms of current news, much attention is given to the new horizontal E&P going on in the Delaware Basin.

But of course the Midland Basin is maintaining a respectable clip in terms of activity and innovation, so let’s take a look!

First for context here are all the wells that have come online in the past 5 years in the Permian Basin, with bubbles colored by production type and sized by first 6 month BOE (6:1), and the currently active rigs throughout the area. Clearly we see the twin lobes of the Delaware Basin to the west and the Midland Basin to the East. The blue horizontal wells dominate in the Delaware lobe and in distinctive portions of the Midland. Many operators in the Midland are combining  vertical wells with hydraulic fracturing across the stacked pay potential, so don’t look at those Vs as if they’re straight up conventional . On the right I have superimposed the paleomap of the Early Permian which helps highlight the Central Basin Platform that divides the two lobes.

midland basin fig 1 midland basin update

Speaking of rigs, lets take a look at the last 6 months of rig activity in the basin, compared with the same period last year.

midland basin fig 2 midland basin update

Clearly there is a lot less activity, and a strong consolidation into the core 6 Counties of Martin, Howard, Midland, Glasscock, Upton and Reagan.


Yoakum County is showing a new flurry of activity.

What’s going on in Yoakum?

Let’s start with permits. Here we see a breakdown and placement of the 443 active permits in the county.

midland basin fig 3 midland basin update

Oxy obviously has bigger plans in the county, but it takes a while for permits to turn into production, so let’s take a different look at Oxy across the Permian.

midland basin fig 4 midland basin update

These wells have all started production in the last two years. There is a fair amount of New Mexico and Texas Delaware Basin activity, a nice concentration of new wells around Big Spring, and a cluster of wells down to the west of Crane, TX. Also, it’s interesting that Yoakum is in 14th place of new producing wells, so today’s permits will probably shift that ranking in the future.

Martin, Howard, Midland, Glasscock, Upton and Reagan Counties

Let’s look at current information flowing out of the core sixpack of counties in the Midland basin. This next image shows currently active wells that were brought online in the past 5 years, colored by current operator, and sized by cumulative oil. I have also overlaid the contours of the Wolfcamp Formation.

midland-basin-fig-5 midland basin update

The area of Glasscock County south of Garden City catches my eye, because there seem to be a variety of operators and a variety of well sizes, and a lot of concentrated activity.

In this next map of that region the bubbles are currently active wells, brought online in the past 5 years, colored in orange, and sized by cumulative oil. The block outlines are our LandTrac Units, which have been cleaned up, compiled, and matched to (and colored by) the permitted operator. The lines are the directional surveys of the actual horizontal wells. I have selected a lease on the left and pulled up the information on that lease to the right, where we see it’s been active for a little over 5 years with 17 wells and very respectable production numbers.

midland-basin-fig-6 midland basin update

Let’s take a quick look at the subsurface from that same area.

midland-basin-fig-7 midland basin update

And they say that West Texas is empty! Here you can see all of the wellbores looking off in one direction, the red and the blue verticals have well log information, the wispy perpendiculars are the actual stimulations and we see that, yes indeed, many vertical wells have indeed been hydraulically fractured. This 3d subsurface view can be hard to understand, so I recommend this 6 minute video by our CEO Allen Gilmer if you want to know more about how it works.

Your Turn

What do you think? Leave a comment below.

The following two tabs change content below.

Eric Roach

Eric Roach is the editor of Drillinginfo's blog, which was selected as the Top Oil & Gas Industry Blog based on visibility, engagement and relevance. He also prepares a weekly newsletter of top industry news for blog subscribers, and would be grateful if you would subscribe and tell your friends. (There's a box on the upper right of the page where you can subscribe).