The U.S. Geological Survey recently discovered the largest continuous oil and gas deposit ever found in the United States, officials said Tuesday.
The agency announced that the Wolfcamp shale, located in the Midland Basin portion of Texas’ Permian Basin, contains 20 billion barrels of oil and 1.6 billion barrels of natural gas liquid.
The Permian Basin is one of the most productive oil and gas areas in the country, and more than 3,000 horizontal wells have been drilled in the Wolfcamp shale section, the agency said in a statement.
“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,” said Walter Guidroz, program coordinator for the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Energy Resources Program.
The discovery is nearly three times larger than oil found in 2013 in the Bakken and Three Forks formations in the Williston Basin Province of Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota, according to the USGS.
According to the statement, continuous oil and gas means the resource is dispersed throughout the area, unlike conventional accumulations that exist in one place. Because of the location of the oil and gas, officials will have to use special recovery methods like hydraulic fracturing to recover the resources, according to the USGS.