The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) estimates that it has discovered the largest continuous oil and gas deposit ever assessed in the U.S. The agency on Nov. 15 released an announcement detailing the discovery, noting that the region where the discovery was made, the Wolfcamp shale region located in the Midland basin section of the Texas Permian Basin, is estimated to hold “20 billion barrels of oil and 1.6 billion barrels of natural gas liquid.”
Walter Guidroz, the program coordinator for the USGS Energy Resources Program, is quoted in the announcement as saying: “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.”
The ever-increasing capabilities which technology enables can make significant productivity gains for companies and agencies operating in the oilfield. The ability of the USGS to detect the aforementioned Wolfcamp deposit is, in part, due to advancements in technology.
Guidroz noted that: “Changes in technology and industry practices can have significant effects on what resources are technically recoverable, and that’s why we continue to perform resource assessments throughout the United States and the world.”
The discovery of this deposit in the Wolfcamp shale highlights how critical technology is in the oilfield. Continual advancements in oil-extraction and detection technologies allow for more accurate, efficient retrieval of the black gold. This should enliven the efforts of those companies involved in the extraction of oil and the development of technologies to accomplish such purposes.
Companies that choose to revisit wells with previously unobtainable oil or gas might now find a different result due to advancements in the field. The continuous adaptation of technology to suit oil producers’ purposes can accomplish many feats that would be considered infeasible just a few years ago.
Oil and gas operations are commonly found in remote locations far from company headquarters. Now, it's possible to monitor pump operations, collate and analyze seismic data, and track employees around the world from almost anywhere. Whether employees are in the office or in the field, the internet and related applications enable a greater multidirectional flow of information – and control – than ever before.