Jun 4, 2020 - Energy & Environment

Energy use declines in Permian Basin offer another glimpse at shale downturn

Reproduced from Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago; Chart: Axios Visuals
Reproduced from Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago; Chart: Axios Visuals

The downturn in the Permian Basin, the heart of the U.S. oil patch, was large enough to cause a big drop in electricity use there, analysis from a University of Chicago energy think tank shows.

What they did: Their analysis looks at daily declines and fluctuation compared to a pre-COVID baseline (captured above), as well as the average drop-off since mid-March, which is 24%.

How it works: Oil production sites often use electric-powered pumps, so the shut-in of thousands of wells meant a big decline in power demand.

What's next: Prices are up since the period they looked at.

  • "But will this higher price lead to a quick U.S. oil production recovery? Keep your eye on electricity use data, which may be our best leading indicator of whether U.S. oil production will recover anytime soon," it states.
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