An estimated average of 20 billion barrels of oil and 1.6 billion barrels of natural gas liquids are available for the taking in the Wolfcamp shale, which is in the Midland Basin portion of Texas’ Permian Basin.
Based on a West Texas Intermediate crude oil price of $45 per barrel, those deposits are worth about $900 billion.
US oil exploration companies have flocked to the superrich Permian Basin in recent years and used shale-drilling technology to create an oil boom that simultaneously helped trigger a price crash two years ago. The count of active oil rigs fell with prices, but has risen over the past few months, mostly in the Permian. Bloomberg noted that the Wolfcamp, where this deposit was found, has been one of the primary targets of shale drillers.
“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 statement.
Now, imagine a president who will [a] free up restrictions so American energy companies can drill here and [b] not having to rely on the a state that sponsors terrorism for our fuel.
The economic effects of extracting the oil and gas from the Wolfcamp shale could be enormous. In North Dakota, a shale-driven oil boom has transformed the landscape and the economy in the past few years, attracting thousands of workers and contributing to falling oil prices.
In some cases, towns that grew quickly when the Bakken shale first started producing oil are now facing steep shortfalls in revenue as the price of oil drops, as we have reported. Falling prices have already hurt Midland, Texas, which is surrounded by oil fields and is in the center of the Wolfcamp shale area.
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The U.S. has produced more oil and natural gas than any other country every year since 2012, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Producing and using the newly discovered oil and gas will also contribute to climate change, since both oil and gas emit greenhouse gases when they are extracted and burned using current technology. The U.S. has pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions economywide 26 percent to 28 percent by 2025 under the Paris climate agreement, which went into effect earlier this month.