Permian Basin

What is the Permian Basin?

The Permian Basin takes its name from the Permian geologic timeframe approximately 251 to 291 million years ago. The United States Shale Revolution that has triggered record oil and gas production would not have been possible without the vast prehistoric sea that dominated the region during this period, which deposited rich organic material over millions of years to form one of the thickest hydrocarbon structures in the world.  The Permian Basin is not uniform, with deeper zones of sedimentary rock forming the Midland and Delaware Basins and the shallower Central Basin Platform forming a bridge between whose prehistoric reefs were ideal for trapping large oil deposits.

Permian Basin Sub-Basins

Covering 86,000 miles and 52 counties across southeastern New Mexico and western Texas, the Permian Basin is made up of three subsidiary basins: the Delaware, Midland, and Central Basin Platform.

What is the Delaware Basin?

The Delaware Basin extends from Lea and Eddie counties, NM, in the north down to Pecos County, TX, in the south. The basin’s areal extent covers 13,000 square miles, most of which is sparsely populated. The northern end of the basin lies in New Mexico, giving it exposure to federal land which typically carries a lower royalty rate compared the private leases in Texas and some regions of New Mexico.

What is the Midland Basin?

The Midland Basin spans roughly 14,000 square miles, extending from Lynn County, TX, in the north down to Crockett County, TX. The Midland-Odessa metropolitan area, the most populous in the Permian Basin region, sits atop the core of the Midland Basin and is home to about 340,000 people (ACS, 2018).

What is the Central Basin Platform?

The Central Basin Platform is in many ways the backbone of the Permian Basin.

While not as aerially extensive as the Midland or Delaware at 6,400 square miles, migrated oil from the basins charged the shallow carbonate reservoirs to create prolific, albeit localized, conventional fields along the Platform’s edges, many of which have transitioned to secondary and tertiary recovery.

Primary target formations include the San Andres, Clear Fork, Tubb, Devonian and Grayburg. Most operators on the Central Basin Platform are small, privately held companies.

What are the Major Permian Basin Formations?

Wolfcamp Shale

The Wolfcamp formations of the Permian Basin represent a time of rapid sediment deposition into the basin when it was at it’s deepest

Spraberry Play of the Midland Basin

The Lower Spraberry

The Lower Spraberry formation is the most targeted of the Spraberry intervals and is characterized by carbonate and shale and layers.

The Middle Spraberry

The Middle Spraberry is an emerging target with similar geologic characteristics to the Lower Spraberry, though is shallower stratigraphically, and is separated from the Lower Spraberry by the Jo Mill. The Upper Spraberry is the least proven.

Bone Spring Play of the Delaware Basin

The Bone Spring Play is a thick package of alternating sands, shales and carbonate intervals in the Delaware Basin, though is primarily targeted in Eddy & Lea counties in New Mexico. The Bone Spring formations overlie the Wolfcamp Shale.

Top Counties in Permian by Drilling Activity

MIDLAND County – Midland County is a county located in the U.S. state of Texas. As of 2019, the population was 176,832. The county seat is Midland. The county is so named for being halfway between Fort Worth and El Paso on the Texas and Pacific Railway.

Mid Continent Oil Midland County Top 15 Oil and Gas Operators

MIDLAND County Oil & Gas Operators

MARTIN County – Martin County is a county in the U.S. state of Texas. As of the 2010 census, its population was 4,799. Its county seat is Stanton. The county was created in 1876 and organized in 1884. It is named for Wylie Martin, an early settler. Until November 2018, Martin County was one of six entirely dry counties in Texas.

Mid Continent Oil Martin County Top 15 Oil and Gas Operators

MARTIN County Oil & Gas Operators

REEVES County – Reeves County is a county located in the U.S. state of Texas. As of the 2010 census, its population was 13,783. Its county seat and most populous city is Pecos. The county was created in 1883 and organized the next year. It is named for George R. Reeves, a Texas state legislator and colonel in the Confederate Army.

Mid Continent Oil Reeves County Top 15 Oil and Gas Operators

REEVES County Oil & Gas Operators

LEA County – Lea County is a county located in the U.S. state of New Mexico. As of the 2010 census, its population was 64,727. Because of oil-lease sales in September 2018, the population was expected to double. Its county seat is Lovington. It is both west and north of the Texas state line.

Mid Continent Oil Lea County Top 15 Oil and Gas Operators

LEA County Oil & Gas Operators

HOWARD County – Howard County is a county located in the U.S. state of Texas. At the 2010 census, its population was 35,012. Its county seat is Big Spring. The county was created in 1876 and organized in 1882. It is named for Volney E. Howard, a U.S. Congressman from Texas.

Mid Continent Oil Howard County Top 15 Oil and Gas Operators

HOWARD County Oil & Gas Operators

EDDY County – Eddy County is a county located in the U.S. state of New Mexico. As of the 2010 census, the population was 53,829. Its county seat and largest city is Carlsbad. The county was created in 1891 and later organized in 1892. It is north of the Texas state line.

Mid Continent Oil Eddy County Top 15 Oil and Gas Operators

EDDY County Oil & Gas Operators

LOVING County – Loving County is a county in the U.S. state of Texas. With a population of 169 as of a 2019 estimate by the United States Census Bureau, Loving County is the second-least populous county in the United States after Kalawao County, Hawaii and the least populous of the contiguous United States.

Mid Continent Oil Loving County Top 15 Oil and Gas Operators

LOVING County Oil & Gas Operators

KARNES County – Karnes County is a county in the U.S. state of Texas. As of the 2010 census, the population was 14,824. Its county seat is Karnes City. The county is named for Henry Karnes, a soldier in the Texas Revolution.

Mid Continent Oil Karnes County Top 15 Oil and Gas Operators

KARNES County Oil & Gas Operators

UPTON County – Upton County is a county located on the Edwards Plateau in the U.S. state of Texas. As of the 2010 census, its population was 3,355. Its county seat is Rankin. The county was created in 1887 and later organized in 1910. It is named for two brothers: John C. and William F. Upton, both colonels in the Confederate Army.

Mid Continent Oil Upton County Top 15 Oil and Gas Operators

UPTON County Oil & Gas Operators

LA SALLE County – La Salle County is a county in Texas. As of the 2010 census, its population was 6,886. Its county seat is Cotulla. The county was created in 1858 and later organized in 1880. It is named for René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, a 17th-century French explorer.

Mid Continent Oil LA SALLE County Top 15 Oil and Gas Operators

LA SALLE County Oil & Gas Operators

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