New Mexico had record-high production of crude oil and natural gas in March 2021, averaging 1.16 million barrels per day (b/d) of crude oil and 6.19 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) of natural gas. The March 2021 increases in crude oil and natural gas production were the largest monthly increases on record for New Mexico. The increased production occurred after a month when production fell in response to the extreme winter weather in the U.S. South Central region. New Mexico’s increased production in March was a result of both new wells coming online for the first time and existing wells coming back online after being shut in during the cold snap.
Crude oil production increased by 172,000 b/d in March 2021, a 17% increase from February’s 983,000 b/d. Natural gas production increased by 0.65 Bcf/d, a 12% increase from February’s 5.54 Bcf/d.
New Mexico’s rise in crude oil and natural gas production in 2021 follows record production for both fuels in 2020. In 2020, New Mexico crude oil production increased by 133,000 b/d, or 15%, from 2019 to a record annual production of 1.04 million b/d. Natural gas production also increased to a new record of 5.60 Bcf/d in 2020. Natural gas production from the Permian Basin, which spans parts of western Texas and eastern New Mexico, accounted for most of the growth.
The sudden drop in crude oil and natural gas demand beginning in April 2020 occurred in response to changing economic conditions related to COVID-19 that reduced crude oil and natural gas prices, which then affected crude oil and natural gas production in New Mexico. The declining market led operators to shut in wells and limit the number of new wells brought online during the first half of 2020. However, operators in New Mexico in the second half of 2020 resumed new well completion despite the low prices. In March 2021, New Mexico surpassed its previous record for monthly production of crude oil (previously set in November 2020) and for natural gas (previously set in October 2020).
Both crude oil and natural gas production also increased in the United States as a whole during March 2021 to 11.18 million b/d of crude oil and 112.68 Bcf/d of natural gas. Other states and regions with production increases in March 2021 were Texas, the Offshore Federal Gulf of Mexico, and Oklahoma—all of which reported production decreases in February 2021.
Principal contributor: Emily Geary