Eyes on the basin

Tulsa World - - Work&money - By Su­san Mon­toya Bryan

AL­BU­QUERQUE, N.M. — Some of the largest en­ergy com­pa­nies in the U.S. have al­ready in­vested bil­lions of dol­lars on claims up and down the Texas-New Mex­ico state line, tap­ping one of the na­tion's rich­est and most pro­lific oil and nat­u­ral gas re­gions.

Now the stakes just got higher, as the U.S. Ge­o­log­i­cal Sur­vey re­leased a new as­sess­ment Thurs­day that shows por­tions of the Per­mian Basin could hold even more prom­ise.

With the po­ten­tial to dou­ble the na­tion's on­shore oil and gas re­sources, the agency es­ti­mates more than 46 bil­lion bar­rels of oil and some 280 tril­lion cu­bic feet of gas are within two for­ma­tions on the south­west­ern side of the basin. That's the largest con­tin­u­ous oil and gas re­source po­ten­tial ever as­sessed.

While agency ge­ol­o­gists cau­tion that more study would be needed to de­ter­mine the prof­itabil­ity of go­ing af­ter the re­sources, in­dus­try groups and top of­fi­cials within the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion are en­cour­aged and say the as­sess­ment un­der­scores the ac­tiv­ity that's al­ready

in­fra­struc­ture. Con­cerns also have been raised by state Land Com­mis­sioner Aubrey Dunn about the en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pacts as state and fed­eral reg­u­la­tors have had a dif­fi­cult time keep­ing up with the pace of de­vel­op­ment across the re­gion.

Dale Jan­way, mayor of the south­east­ern New Mex­ico city of Carls­bad, told The As­so­ci­ated Press that with the news of more re­sources in the Per­mian comes greater re­spon­si­bil­ity.

“We know that we need to re­dou­ble our ef­forts to im­prove and de­velop in­fra­struc­ture in the area and to work closely with the county, state and our busi­ness partners to best pre­pare for the fu­ture. We're in it for the long haul,” he said.

The boom also has re­sulted in a sig­nif­i­cant bud­get sur­plus that will give in­com­ing Gov.-elect Michelle Lu­jan Gr­isham and the Demo­crat-led Leg­is­la­ture more op­tions as they hash out spend­ing pri­or­i­ties for ev­ery­thing from ed­u­ca­tion and pub­lic safety to in­fra­struc­ture.

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