Texas' Wolfcamp shale reserve may be largest ever assessed in U.S.

A report from the USGS finds the Wolfcamp shale basin in Texas about three times as big as Bakken.

By Daniel J. Graeber

HOUSTON, Nov. 17 (UPI) -- With renewed focus on Texas shale oil deposits, regional bankers said they were planning a regional joint economic conference to discuss a new energy reality.

The Federal Reserve Banks of Dallas and Kansas plan to hold their first-ever joint energy conference in Houston on Friday. With featured speakers Adam Sieminski, the head of the U.S. Energy Information Administration, and Martin Craighead, the CEO of oilfield services company Baker Hughes, the bankers said the focus of the meeting will be "on the key drivers of recent oil price movements and their implications for the energy industry, the financial sector and the broader economy."


The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas said last month that, despite a period of historically lower crude oil prices, there were broad indicators of recovery in the Texas economy. The bank warned earlier this year that the pressure from low oil prices was spilling over to other parts of the economy, with banks in southern U.S. states facing increasing risk.

Recovery may come in the form of renewed confidence in Texas shale deposits. An assessment from the U.S. Geological Survey found the Wolfcamp shale reserve in the Permian basin in Texas may be the largest ever assessed in the country.


According to the survey, the Wolfcamp could hold as much as 20 billion barrels of oil and 16 trillion cubic feet of associated gas. If estimates are correct, that would be nearly three times as big as the Bakken oil formation in North Dakota, considered a driver of the momentum at the height of the shale are in North America.

"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.

The Dallas Fed said that, in terms of stock values, there were increases posted for most Texas companies and permits for oil and gas wells increased. Oilfield services company Schlumberger, which has offices in Houston and is the largest company of its kind, said in its latest quarterly report the oil market is in balance and recovery is on the way.

So far over the past 12 months, Texas has produced about 1 billion barrels of crude oil. The EIA said that, as crude oil prices recover and spending starts to move back into the U.S. energy sector, a full-scale rebound is possible for inland resources.


The entire Permian basin, which includes Wolfcamp, holds nearly as many active oil rigs as the rest of the United States combined.

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