Two Extra Layers

The United States Department of the Interior announced a revision last week about an increase in the potential production in the Wolfcamp Shale and Bone Spring Formation. The announcement stated, two underground layers in the Delaware Basin in the Permian shale play of West Texas and New Mexico, contain 46.3 billion barrels of oil, 281 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 20 billion barrels of natural gas liquids.  This represents the largest pool of oil and gas reserves anywhere in the United States. The Permian is already the driving force in production hitting an all-time high in November of 11.7 million barrels per day (bpd) as it is the biggest producer and boasts the quickest rate of production at 3.63 million bpd. 

 A report issued by the United State Geological Survey in 2016 speculated that the Wolfcamp Shale had an estimated 20 billion barrels of oil, 16 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 1.6 barrels of natural gas liquids were present in the basin.  It is important to note that the revised findings by the USGS now include the Bone Spring Formation for the first time. The reserves are “undiscovered but technically recoverable” which means that they have yet to be produced but with current technologies in drilling can be recovered.  Ryan Flynn, Executive Director of New Mexico Oil and Gas Association said, “Even for someone who understands the resources and potential of the Permian Basin, I can’t help but be surprised by the sheer enormity of what the USGS has reported,” Flynn said. “The Permian resources shared by New Mexico and Texas make this area one of the most important places in the world in terms of oil production.”


Politicians from both sides of the isles seam to stress the need for an independence from foreign oil. It would seem from technological advancement and new studies we are one step closer to that realization. The potential increase in production from the Permian Shale deposit will undoubtedly change the future landscape of domestic production.


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