Permania – 100 Years In The Permian Oil Fields Of New Mexico And Texas
The Permian Basin oil field in southeast New Mexico and west Texas first started producing shortly after World War I. But almost 100 years later, it seems to keep getting better, and may become the world’s biggest oil field. A combination of new technologies and global price wars has kept the basin amazingly productive.
There’s actually a word for this – it’s called Permania. And it’s on the lips of everyone in the Oil&Gas industry.
Many huge oil fields are famous throughout the world. The Ghawar field in Saudi Arabia, discovered in 1948, is considered the biggest and the best known, producing about 5 million barrels per day, with estimated reserves exceeding 70 billion barrels. And this is above the 70 billion or so already extracted. Ghawar is why Saudi Arabia leads OPEC.
But the Permian Basin, a 300-mile expanse from west Texas to southeastern New Mexico, is headed to becoming the biggest in the world. It is now the largest producing basin in the United States, having yielded almost 30 billion barrels of oil and 75 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Currently, the Permian is pumping about 2 million barrels of oil a day.
It’s gotten so busy that the town of Carlsbad, New Mexico has nary a vacant room given the many oil and gas people coming through. And they’ve been building new hotels as fast as they can.
The Permian Basin is almost unique in that it has so many oil and gas producing rock formations stacked one on top of each other, called multiple stacked plays, each of which is more than a thousand feet thick, ranging in depths from a few hundred feet to five miles below the surface (see figure from Tarka).
Written by James Conca at Forbes