Texas issues 12 percent fewer oil, gas drilling permits in December

HOUSTON (Reuters) - Texas issued 885 oil and gas drilling permits in December, down 12 percent compared with the same month in 2016, the state’s energy regulator said on Tuesday.

- December’s total included 792 permits to drill new oil or gas wells, eight to re-enter plugged wells and 85 for re-completions of existing wells, according to the Railroad Commission of Texas.

- Total completions - the process of making a drilled well ready for production - processed last year were 6,914, down 34 percent from 10,468 in 2016.

- Active rigs in the state as of Dec. 5 totaled 454, about 49 percent of all working rigs in the United States, according to oilfield services firm Baker Hughes Inc

- In December, Texas had 11,000 more active wells than the same month in 2016, for a total of 317,864 wells, with 96 percent of the increase coming from wells producing less than 10 barrels of oil per day (bpd).

Reporting by Bryan Sims; Editing by Tom Brown