Increasing interest in the Permian Basin from entities and individuals outside our region has given rise to more reportage and analysis of our prolific play. We share some snippets and a factoid or two.
A Place of Plenty
As we did last issue in this space, we share here a snippet from “The Imperishable Permian Basin,” a report produced by the Independent Petroleum Association of America.
“According to an assessment by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in 1995, the Permian had more than 100 billion barrels of oil in place. The key, of course, is how much of that can be recovered commercially, a figure that has continued to grow with technological innovation. The USGS’s 2007 estimate of technically recoverable reserves of 1.0 billion barrels of conventional oil and 1.3 billion barrels of unconventional oil likely vastly understates the Permian’s potential with current technology, as the evolution of horizontal drilling techniques and multi-stage fracturing has dramatically changed the prospects of the Permian. According to the Texas Railroad Commission (which regulates the state’s oil and gas activity), “The Permian Basin has produced over 29 billion barrels of oil and 75 trillion cubic feet of gas, and it is estimated by industry experts to contain recoverable oil and natural gas resources exceeding what has been produced over the last 90 years.” Perceptions of conventional fields have changed, as well. A more recent USGS study in April 2012 finds that 18 existing conventional fields alone hold an estimated additional 2.7 billion barrels of oil that are technically recoverable from the Permian using enhanced recovery techniques.”
Find the full article at the IPAA’s website at http://oilindependents.org/the-imperishable-permian-basin.
QUIZ: Who was the first European to gaze upon Permian?
A) Coronado B) Roderick Murchison
If you answered “Coronado,” you are wrong, but you are entitled to protest that it was a trick question, because, well, it was.
It was Murchison who first espied the Permian. The “Permian” we are talking about here is the geological strata, and by extension the fossil record, that bears that name. It was Sir Roderick Impey Murchison, pioneering geologist, who discovered and named it. In Russia, not the American Southwest.The following is from the Proceedings of the Geological Association 121: “Roderick Impey Murchison (1792-1871) famously named the Permian Period in 1841, based on his fieldwork in Russia.This was the last remaining gap in the standard times calendar that Murchison and others had been establishing through the 1830s, a range of time then formally known as ‘the lower New Red Sandstone,’and lying between the Carboniferous and Triassic (= ‘upper New Red Sandstone’), which had been named respectively in 1822 and 1834. The general assumption is that Murchison was ﬁrst able to provide a formal name for the ‘lower New Red Sandstone’ after having seen fossiliferous marine Lower Permian rocks around the city of Perm, on the ﬂanks of the Ural Mountains.” As for Coronado, he was the first European to see the region we know as the Permian Basin. The Spanish explorer and conquistador led his expedition through the region in 1541. A member of his party noted that the “land is so flat [that], if at midday they [hunting parties] have wandered foolishly following their prey [buffalo] from one place to another, they must stay calmly near their prey until the sun lowers, in order to see by what course they must return to where they departed from. Even so, these had to be knowledgeable men.” The entire expedition wandered lost for five days at one interval in their transit of what is now West Texas.