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Largest ever continuous oil and gas resource discovered in the U.S.

10/12/2018
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The good news keeps on coming for the US oil and gas industry! Not only has the United States recently become a net oil exporter for the first time in 75 years, the US Department of the Interior has just announced the discovery of the largest continuous oil and gas field ever found.
Located within the Permian Basin the new discovery is estimated to contain a massive 46.3 billion barrels of oil, 281 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, and 20 billion barrels of natural gas liquids.
Located within the Wolfcamp Shale and the overlying Bone Spring Formation in the Delaware Basin portion of Texas and New Mexico’s Permian Basin the discovery is estimated to contain a massive 46.3 billion barrels of oil, 281 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, and 20 billion barrels of natural gas liquids. This estimate is for continuous (unconventional) oil, and consists of undiscovered, technically recoverable resources.

Although the USGS (U.S. Geological Survey) has previously assessed conventional oil and gas resources in the Permian Basin province, this is the first assessment of continuous resources in the Wolfcamp shale and Bone Spring Formation in the Delaware Basin portion of the Permian. Oil and gas companies are currently producing oil here using both traditional vertical well technology and horizontal drilling and fracturing.

Commenting on the find, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, said:

“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”.

Whilst the discovery is positive news, the more keen eyed amongst you may have spotted a caveat in the way the discovery was described. The caveat? That the discovery is ‘technically recoverable’. When a find is ‘technically recoverable’ it means that the resources can be produced using currently available technology and industry practices, however whether or not it is actually profitable to produce these resources has not been evaluated. So, whilst we have a huge find on our hands, whether or not it will lead to new drilling projects is still to be assessed…

Nevertheless, the fact that these resources have been identified is good news and as Dr. Jim Reilly, USGS Director, says:

“In the 1980s, 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”.

Secure a shale industry job with Fircroft

With ever more resources being discovered across the United States, now is the time to start the search for your next oil industry job. Since the early 1990s Fircroft has been recruiting technical and engineering professionals for the country’s leading oil and gas producers. Register for free now and we’ll notify you of our latest vacancies. Alternatively, explore our open positions now.
Tags: Oil & Gas
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Largest ever continuous oil and gas resource discovered in the U.S. - Time to read 3 min
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