Natural gas liquids production in the Permian Basin has doubled in the past four years, and may well double again by 2022. That rapid growth — driven by the pursuit of Permian crude oil and the resulting production of large volumes of NGL-rich associated gas — threatens to overwhelm the region’s existing gas processing and NGL-pipeline infrastructure. This is a big deal, because if there’s not enough gas processing and NGL takeaway capacity out of the Permian, exploration and production companies (E&Ps) in the U.S.’s hottest shale play would be forced to slow the pace of their development. Today we discuss highlights from our new Drill Down Report on Permian NGL production growth and the need for more NGL-related infrastructure.
One of the surer bets in an energy industry rife with uncertainty is that production of crude oil, natural gas and natural gas liquids (NGLs) in the Permian will continue rising. The hydrocarbon resources in the best parts of the Permian are extraordinary, and E&Ps active in the play have — after considerable effort — cracked the code to wringing vast volumes of crude and NGL-packed associated gas from new wells there at a remarkably low cost per barrel of oil equivalent (boe). But production growth can only occur if sufficient supporting infrastructure is in place to process and transport all the crude, gas and NGLs emerging from wellheads across the 70,000-square-mile Permian region.
In our two recent Drill Down Reports — one on Permian crude and the other on Permian natural gas — we explored the processing and pipeline-takeaway challenges due to fast-paced production growth in the Permian’s Delaware and Midland basins. We also discussed plans for new crude and gas pipelines, as well as how soon new capacity would be needed under each of RBN’s price scenarios. In our newest Drill Down Report, available today to RBN Backstage Pass subscribers, we examine the NGL side of the Permian.