I spent the weekend in Austin at the University of Texas, where I drove past what is arguably the most important oil well in American history, the Santa Rita No. 1. There are those who would bestow that title on the famous East Texas gusher at Spindletop, which spurred the rise of the oil industry in 1901. The Santa Rita No. 1 first hit oil 22 years later, after two arduous years of drilling, in Reagan County in West Texas. It proved that oil existed the Permian Basin, a 300-mile expanse stretching to southeastern New Mexico, and including Midland, Odessa and Fort Stockton in Texas, and Carlsbad, New Mexico. The Permian Basin quickly became the most important source of U.S. oil production. 1 Incredibly, that is as true today as it was in the Permian’s wildcatting heyday, which was roughly from the 1940s to the early 1970s. According to a new study by IHS Markit, a consulting and research firm, the Permian Basin today has between 60 billion and 70 billion barrels of recoverable oil, worth $3.3 trillion at current prices, as Bloomberg’s Joe Carroll noted in a story on Monday.
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Written by Joe Nocera at Bloomberg