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Largest Source of Shale Oil in History Possibly Found in Texas

Remigio Civitarese | 20 Novembre, 2016, 19:27

DALLAS (AP) — A vast field of shale rock in West Texas could yield 20 billion barrels of oil, making it the largest source of shale oil the U.S. Geological Survey has ever assessed, agency officials said. "That's why we continue to perform resource assessments throughout the United States and the world", Guidroz said. The oil and gas is dispersed throughout the geologic formation rather than existing as separate localized pockets such as those in conventional accumulations.

Oil has been produced in the Wolfcamp area since the 1980s by traditional vertical wells - but now companies are using horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing to tap the continuous oil reserve.

The new assessment ranks the Wolfcamp shale, which lies in four different layers beneath the desert about 1.6km (1 mile) thick in some places, as about three times the size of earlier big U.S. shale...

The new discovery only serves to confirm the prospects of the Permian Basin's fossil fuel reserves.

Meanwhile its chief Fatih Birol, was heard telling Reuters news agency that U.S. shale oil producers will increase their output if oil prices hit $60 a barrel, meaning OPEC will have to walk a fine line if it curtails production to prop up prices. According to the USGS team, the Wolfcamp is now the titleholder of the largest ever assessed resource.

The Permian now holds almost as many active oil rigs as the rest of the United States combined, including both onshore and offshore rigs, and it is the only region in the EIA Drilling Productivity Report where crude oil production is expected to increase for the third consecutive month.

The Wolfcamp play is located in western Texas. "Our task is to estimate what we think the volume of recoverable oil is in a unit like the Wolfcamp", said Schenk.

At present prices, 20 billion barrels of oil would be worth nearly $900 billion.

It's been three years since the U.S. Geological Survey released its updated assessment of the Bakken and Three Forks resource. "A day earlier, Concho Resources CEO Timothy Leach told investors and analysts that two recent wells it drilled in the Wolfcamp were pumping an average of 2,000 barrels a day each".

"It's no surprise that Texas has massive oil fields, but these new findings from USGS are jaw-dropping", Steve Everley, spokesman for North Texans for Natural Gas said in an email.

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