The International Information Center for Geotechnical Engineers

Tuesday, 12 March 2019 01:00

Continuous oil and natural gas resources found in Texas and New Mexico

Delaware Basin, Source: Delaware Basin, Source:

According to United States Geological Survey (USGS), Wolfcamp Shale and overlying Bone Spring Formation in the Delaware Basin part of Texas and New Mexico's Permian Basin province contain a vast quantity of continuous oil and natural gas resources.

In particular, investigation showed that 46.3 Billion Barrels of Oil, 281 Trillion Cubic feet of Natural Gas, and 20 Billion Barrels of Natural Gas Liquid can be extracted. The assessment was issued by USGS on November 2018. "Christmas came a few weeks early this year. American strength flows from American energy, and as it turns out, we have a lot of American energy. Before this assessment came down, I was bullish on oil and gas production in the United States. Now, I know for a fact that American energy dominance is within our grasp as a nation," United States Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke, stated.

Permian Basin is a large sedimentary basin in the southwestern part of the United States which contains large quantities of gas and oil. The potential exploitation of Wolfcamp shale in the Midland Basin portion of the Permian Basin was evaluated in 2016 and research showed that it was the largest assessment of continuous oil at that time. But, the Delaware Basin evaluation of the Wolfcamp Shale and Bone Spring Formation showed that it is more than 2 times larger than the Midland Basin.

A "continuous" or "unconventional" oil or gas resource is dispersed throughout a geologic formation rather than existing as discrete, localized occurrences, such as those in conventional accumulations. Those resources often require special technical drilling and recovery methods.

This is the first time that potential continuous resources are evaluated in the Wolfcamp shale and Bone Spring Formation in the Delaware Basin portion of the Permian. Currently, oil extraction in the area is conducted using conventional methods such as hydraulic fracturing and vertical well technology with horizontal drilling.

"In the 1980's, during my time in the petroleum industry, the Permian and similar mature basins were not considered viable for producing large new recoverable resources. Today, thanks to advances in technology, the Permian Basin continues to impress in terms of resource potential. The results of this most recent assessment and that of the Wolfcamp Formation in the Midland Basin in 2016 are our largest continuous oil and gas assessments ever released. Knowing where these resources are located and how much exists is crucial to ensuring both our energy independence and energy dominance," Dr. Jim Reilly, USGS Director, commented.

Click here to find out more about the assessment of the Delaware Basin Wolfcamp shale.


Read 213 times Last modified on Tuesday, 12 March 2019 15:07

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