Study: Permian Output Could Peak by 2021 if Technology Doesn't Overcome Geology

Oil production could peak in the booming Permian Basin by 2021 if shale drillers do not overcome geological constraints, according to a study by energy research firm Wood Mackenzie.

As oil companies continue to rapidly drill in what is the most prolific areas of the West Texas play, these companies could see wells pumping 30 percent less crude in the next five years than what they did when the region's boom began.

Wood Mac said in its study that the Permian Basin could peak around 3.5 million barrels a day in 2021 unless drillers can continue to develop technologies that keep up with production.

The research firm also laid out a scenario where drilling and fracking technology outpaced the Permian's geological constraints, which in turn would peak the region's output at 5 million barrels a day in 2025.

Drillers have to keep pushing on technology to keep up with the booming production, said Robert Clarke, a research director at Wood Mackenzie. Although he also mentioned that the Permian Basin is estimated to continue outputting a little less than 3 million barrels a day out to 2030.

Fuel Fix