Is it common for the producing oil well to be controlled as far as the output is concerned? If so, do the companies reduce the output for a purpose? How common is this practice?
Responsible oil companies control the well to preserve formatiin pressure in order to maximize long-term production. If the well is opened full blast, the pressure will fall and oil will be left in the ground and unrecoverable. Some companies focus on the short term because they intend to sell out within 2-3 years. They do not care about making sure the well produces for 20 years. As a mineral owner you have no control over this.
Thanks for you informative reply. I assume this to be the case for the wells in question.
Yes, it is common and there is a very good reason why. The good operators frequently choke back production to enhance the recovery from the field. If they let every well produce with an open choke then the natural pressure of the field declines too quickly and the production will die off rapidly leaving quite a bit of hydrocarbons in the ground. The pressure is why propels the hydrocarbons to the surface. High pressure seeks low pressure. Think of a soda bottle. If you leave it open on the counter, the fizz leaves immediately and you are left with flat soda. If the natural pressure from the field dies, then the operators have to spend quite a bit of money to either put the wells on artificial lift or begin secondary recovery methods which are quite expensive. Might not be worth it in some types of reservoirs. The best method is to balance the pressure in the fields between the wells and attempt to get the most product out of the ground using nature to help.
So I looks like all these horizontal wells that are fracked produce by pressure and pressure alone and do not have to be pumped with walking-beam pumps that were a common sight in the past. Is this correct or is artificial pressure somehow injected into the well?
The deeper the well the more natural the overburden pressure is. Not all wells have a pumping unit on the well. Some have submersible pumps instead.
I also assume that due to price, production is cut back?
Occasionally, but we are in a pretty good price point right now (except for gas in the Permian and Marcellus). Companies usually want to get their well costs paid back as soon as possible, so balance that factor in with optimal production.