The Wolfcamp shale formation in Texas' Permian Basin contains an estimated 20 billion barrels of crude oil, nearly three times as much oil estimated to be in the Bakken-Three Forks formation, the US Geological Survey said Tuesday.
A recent assessment found the "Wolfcamp shale" geologic formation in the Midland area holds an estimated 20 billion barrels of accessible oil along with 16 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 1.6 billion barrels of natural gas liquids.
The Wolfcamp's resources also dwarf the 2013 assessment of the Bakken/Three Forks with almost 3x the amount of recoverable oil. The agency also has assessments for continuous oil and gas in the Spraberry as well as conventional oil and gas for the Devonian and San Andres, all of which were assessed in its 2007 assessment of the entire Permian Basin.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Monday released its November report on drilling productivity in seven key oil and gas producing regions of the U.S. Overall oil production is projected to remain essentially flat at 4.52 million barrels per day, just 7,000 barrels a day below October production.
However, more recently, oil and gas companies have been using horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, and more than 3,000 horizontal wells have been drilled and completed in the Midland Basin Wolfcamp section. It is one of the most productive areas for oil and gas in the entire United States.
So far over the past 12 months, Texas has produced about 1 billion barrels of crude oil. The process has triggered an oil and natural gas boom, which allowed the U.S.to pass Russian Federation as the world's largest producer of both oil and natural gas.
Undiscovered resources are those that are estimated to exist based on geologic knowledge and theory, while technically recoverable resources are those that can be produced using now available technology and industry practices. Such advances "can have significant effects on what resources are technically recoverable", he said.