An astounding increase in the number of horizontal drilling permits awarded in the Permian last month is the latest indicator oil and gas operators are flooring the accelerator. According to Rystad, the uptick in March permitting activity signals less of an anomaly and more of a looming production surge after an “unprecedented” 904 were awarded in Texas and N.M.

Reese Energy Consulting today is following news from the Permian beehive where independents took the lion’s share of permits scoring 500 of them to include publicly-traded Pioneer with 99—a company record high. Private operators Franklin Mountain Energy, Birch Resources, and Spur Energy scarfed up the second most, and as many as 81 operators snagged at least one permit.

An estimated 337 rigs now are at work in the Permian—an added 40 since January and the most in two years. Not to be outdone, an estimated 362 new wells were drilled in March, the most since 2020, and well completions marked a one-year high at 433. To put all this in perspective, Permian production—which is forecast to hit an April record of 5.208 MMBPD—is projected to top 5.7 MMBPD in 2023. But even that could be a low figure. What do you think? Learn more about REC and our oil and gas services at