By Daniel J. Graeber

Feb. 27 (UPI) -- Total crude oil production from Texas last year topped 1 billion barrels and daily production in December was 5 percent higher year-on-year, data show.

Texas is the No. 1 oil producer in the United States and home to the Permian shale basin, one of the more lucrative reservoirs in the country.

The Railroad Commission of Texas, the state energy regulator, reported total crude oil production last year was 1.03 billion barrels. Most of the oil from Texas comes out of the Permian shale and federal data show output is expected to increase.

State data show a preliminary rate of total Texas crude oil production in December at 2.52 million barrels per day, up 5 percent from the average in December 2016. The U.S. Energy Information Administration expects Permian shale production alone to flirt with 3 million bpd by March.

The production gains are not spilling over to the average worker, however. The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas reported last week that average weekly wages in the Permian shale region declined 0.3 percent, though that was an improvement over the 1 percent decline statewide.

Wages in the shale region are nevertheless 15 percent higher than for the rest of the labor sector in Texas at around $1,200 per week.

Rig counts, meanwhile, continue to climb, showing energy companies are willing to spend on exploration and production now that oil prices are holding steadily above $60 per barrel, compared with around $30 per barrel two years ago.

The Dallas Fed, however, reported the number of drilled, but uncompleted wells rose 4 percent in the Permian shale between December and January and more than doubled year-on-year, far outpacing the rest of the country.

Some analysts are worried about the buildup in drilled, but uncompleted wells. Those types of wells are ones that operators don't yet want to put into production because of market conditions and numbers are still increasing even as crude oil prices flirted with $70 per barrel in early 2018.

Texas oil production accounts for roughly 20 percent of the national total. The federal EIA estimates total U.S. oil production will average 10.6 million bpd this year, beating a 48-year-old-record. Total production next year is estimated at 11.1 million bpd.