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11/17/2016  Largest Reserves of Untapped Oil Ever Discovered Found in Texas


PERMIAN BASIN, TX — U.S. Geological Survey officials said this week they have found what is quite possibly the largest deposit of untapped oil ever to be found in the state's Permian Basin.
The announcement was made on Tuesday on the agency's website. Officials describe vast deposits of some 20 billion barrels of oil and another 1.6 billion barrels of natural gas in the region's Wolfcamp shale formation, part of the Midland Basin part of the Permian Basin region.
Based on the prevailing per-barrel price of crude oil, the deposits are being valued at roughly $900 billion.
"This is the largest estimate of continuous oil that USGS has ever assessed in the United States," officials wrote. "The Wolfcamp shale in the Midland Basin portion of Texas’ Permian Basin province contains an estimated mean of 20 billion barrels of oil, 16 trillion cubic feet of associated natural gas, and 1.6 billion barrels of natural gas liquids, according to an assessment by the U.S. Geological Survey."
The discovery dwarfs the abundance of untapped minerals found in the Bakken region, where protests over intrusions posed by proposed pipeline construction by indigenous people continue. USGS officials said the reserves found in the Permian Basis are nearly three times those of the Bakken formation, "...making this the largest estimated continuous oil accumulation that USGS has assessed in the United States to date."
“The fact that this is the largest assessment of continuous oil we have ever done just goes to show that, even in areas that have produced billions of barrels of oil, there is still the potential to find billions more,” Walter Guidroz, program coordinator for the USGS Energy Resources Program, said in a prepared statement. “Changes in technology and industry practices can have significant effects on what resources are technically recoverable, and that’s why we continue to perform resource assessments throughout the United States and the world.”
The Permian Basin has long been a source for wildcatters and speculators. Since the 1980s, the Wolfcamp shale in the Midland Basin has been part of the “Wolfberry” play that encompasses Mississippian, Pennsylvanian and Lower Permian reservoirs, USGS officials explained. Oil there has been coaxed out of the ground using traditional vertical well technology rather than the horizontal drilling version known as hydraulic fracturing or "fracking."
The fracking process has become a source of controversy related to the disturbance of surrounding areas that is blamed for affecting the water supply and creating minor earthquakes as underground stone formations are cracked to get at the oil trapped in crevices.
Traditional drilling methods have seen fruition in the shale formation, with more than 3,000 horizontal wells drilled to completion in the Midland Basin Wolfcamp section, USGS officials said.
While the Wolfcamp shale extends into the Delaware Basin portion of the Permian Basin province, the area was not included in the USGS assessment. The Permian Basin province includes a series of basins and other geologic formations in West Texas and southern New Mexico — one of the most productive areas for oil and gas in the entire United States — USGS officials said.