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An Overview of the Past Five Years of Texas Natural Gas Processing Plant Activity

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Amidst all the excitement of unconventional resource play activity on the upstream side of the oil and gas industry, it is easy to forget about the midstream operations.

Fortunately, DI has treasure troves of public records pertaining to oil and gas data. Using the DI Desktop (HPDI) database, a search for natural gas processing plant data (TXRRC R3 form) provided a quick, high-level overview of the product volumes coming out of Texas natural gas processing plants.

The time frame of plant activity observed was from the beginning of 2009 through 2013. The chart below shows a rolling sum of volumes over time for this 5 year period.

Texas Natural Gas Processing Plants Volume by Product

Which are the top producing counties?

The following chart shows the top 10 producing counties by total amount of natural gas liquids processed.

Texas Natural Gas Top 10 Producing Counties

Wise County has shown a consistent trend in production; however, the interesting piece is the huge insurgence of natural gas liquids produced from Lavaca County plants. The county showed an average of 46% growth year over year in the past 5 years. The major increase occurred in 2012 at roughly 87% growth from year-end 2011.

Obviously, the primary driver behind this can mostly be attributed to shale and tight hydrocarbon baring formations like the Barnett, Haynesville, Eagle Ford and various unconventional plays in the Permian Basin like the Wolfcamp, Spraberry, and Bone Spring. The chart below highlights natural gas production by some of the major plays in Texas. The topic of note is the Eagle Ford and unconventional Permian Basin gas production. This includes dry gas and gas well casing-head condensate volumes by applying the TX RRC shrinkage factor. According to Statewide Rule 27, all gas well production must be reported as formation production and applied to each well for allowable purposes regardless of disposition. The shrinkage factor takes into account condensate lost at the casing head and multiplies the condensate volume by 1.1.

Texas Natural Gas Production by Basin

Interestingly, the liquids-rich Eagle Ford has surpassed the Haynesville and soon the Barnett, both behemoths of gas production, on fewer wells and mostly associated gas. This gives some scope of the prolific productivity of Eagle Ford wells.

Your Turn

What do you think? What else do you find interesting about natural gas processing plants? Leave a comment below.

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Matt Menchaca

Matthew Menchaca is a Research Analyst at Drillinginfo. He is a key member of the Data Management Department and the DI Analytics group. He performs industry research, tracks play development and provides various types of analysis on unconventional resource plays in the U.S. Matthew graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 2010 after studying Geography and Geological Sciences.