The Permian Basin is an oil rich area of West Texas and New Mexico. It covers an area of some 75,000 square miles and covers an area south of Lubbock down to Midland and Odessa and stretches around 250 miles wide east to west. It is often referred to as the Mid-Continent Oil Producing Area even though it also produces gas.
It is currently one of the largest oil generating regions in the U.S. and is regularly grabbing headlines for the explosion in the local economy, employment opportunities in the oil industry and the welcome return of domestic oil production on a large scale. It lowers our dependence on foreign imports and provides valuable jobs and income for the region.
In 2012, the Permian Basin alone generated over 312 million barrels of oil. Since being tapped, the region has generated over 29 billion barrels of oil and 75 trillion CU-ft of natural gas.
The Permian Basin also has large natural gas deposits which are also providing much needed domestic production of this important commodity. While oil is definitely the dominant element here, the gas the region produces should not be underestimated.
The name comes from the geological period when the rocks were originally laid down. It was a period when much of the bedrock in the area was formed. It is actually formed of several separate basins within the region, the Midland Basin, Delaware Basin and Marfa Basin.
The specific oil and gas producing formations include Yates, San Andres, Clear Fork, Spraberry, Wolfcamp, Yeso, Bone Spring, Avalon, Canyon, Morrow, Devonian and Ellenberger formation. Each generates significant oil production and is being exploited up to five miles underground.
The region also has the Central Basin Platform, Eastern and Northwest Shelves, San Simon Channel, Sheffield Channel, Hovey Channel and Horseshoe Atoll as geological features. These don’t produce oil but are significant in the local geology.
To date, over 9,500 drilling permits have been issued to companies wanting to work in the Permian Basin. There are over 290 rigs currently in use, with thousands of supporting workers and industries.
The five main independent oil producers are Occidental Petroleum Co., Apache Corp., Concho Resources Inc., Pioneer Resources Inc. and Devon Energy Corp.
With an estimates 30 billion barrels of oil and an undetermined amount of natural gas still left in the ground, the Permian Basin is going to be hot property for a long time to come. That means the area will continue to be strong economically and develop socially and in infrastructure as the years progress.