Report: 2 New Mexico counties among top oil producers

FILE - In this April 24, 2015, file photo, pumpjacks work in a field near Lovington, N.M. Two New Mexico counties remain among the top oil-producing counties in the U.S., according to new federal numbers released in May 2019. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, File)

Two New Mexico counties remain among the top oil-producing counties in the U.S., according to new federal numbers.

Data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration shows that Lea County was the No. 2 oil-producing county in January behind North Dakota’s McKenzie County, The Hobbs News-Sun report ed.

Lea County produced 14.6 million barrels of oil in January while McKenzie County which produced 17.3 million barrels, the report said.

Lea County had more than twice the number of operating rigs as McKenzie County.

Steve Vierck, the outgoing CEO and president of the Economic Development Corporation of Lea County, was pleased to hear the news.

“Our production has roughly tripled in the last five years,” Vierck said. “The county produces over half the state’s oil and the state is No. 3. It really reflects not only how much oil production there is, but how much growth there has been in oil production to move up the chart as fast as Lea County has.”

Meanwhile, New Mexico’s Eddy County was listed as the No. 6 top oil-producing county. It produced 10 million barrels during the same month.

In November, a group of major oil and gas companies with plays in the Permian Basin, a portion of which is the Delaware Basin that straddles the New Mexico-Texas border including the southern half of Lea County, announced the formation of an energy alliance, collectively committing more than $100 million over the next several years to spur additional private-sector investment in the region.

The 18 major oil companies that comprise the Permian Strategic Partnership said the Permian Basin is an oil-producing superpower, becoming one of the most strategically important oil-producing regions in the world.

The coalition of companies said it intends to address infrastructure challenges and strengthen communities across West Texas and southeast New Mexico. They said building new roads, recruiting new doctors and teachers and developing new neighborhoods will require years of work, substantial resources and sustained cooperation among many entities.q