Wolfcamp shale formation in the Permian Basin has an estimated 20 billion barrels
Drillers have wrung oil out of West Texas for a century, but there’s still plenty left in untapped shale rocks.They also estimate that the area has 16 trillion cubic feet of recoverable natural gas. Producers are certainly investing heavily in the area which appears to have enough oil to eliminate any need for imports for decades.
In its first assessment of the Wolfcamp shale, the U.S. Geological Survey estimated the formation holds 20 billion undiscovered, technically recoverable barrels of oil, three times as much as the Bakken Shale in North Dakota. That’s enough gasoline to drive your car nearly two light years.
“Even in areas that have produced billions of barrels of oil, there is still the potential to find billions more,” said Walter Guidroz, program coordinator for the agency’s energy resource program, in a written statement.
The USGS makes estimates of undiscovered, technically recoverable resources, or oil that could be extracted with modern technology. That’s different than the proven reserves that oil companies actually book on their balance sheets after they drill wells and study reservoir data.