Vast shale oil field could be largest source ever found

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - NATION + WORLD -

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.

The Wolf­camp Shale ge­o­logic for­ma­tion in the Mid­land area also con­tains an es­ti­mated 16 tril­lion cu­bic feet of nat­u­ral gas and 1.6 bil­lion bar­rels of nat­u­ral gas liq­uids, the agency re­ported. The dis­cov­ery is nearly three times larger than the shale oil found in 2013 in the Bakken and Three Forks for­ma­tions in the Dako­tas and Mon­tana, said Chris Schenk, a Den­ver-based re­search ge­ol­o­gist for the agency.

Ge­ol­o­gists ex­plain that oil re­cov­ered from shale rock is con­sid­ered un­con­ven­tional com­pared to other oil found in the ground be­cause ex­tract­ing it re­quires ad­vanced drilling or re­cov­ery meth­ods, such as hy­draulic frac­tur­ing. The area is part of the sweep­ing, en­ergy-rich Per­mian Basin in West Texas and south­ern New Mex­ico.

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