Integrated Synthesis of the Permian Basin: Data Models for Recovering Existing and Undiscovered Oil Resources from the Largest Oil-Bearing Basin the U.S.

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2009

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The Permian Basin stands as the richest hydrocarbon basin in the United States. Over time, it has yielded nearly 30 billion barrels of oil from an estimated original oil in place of 106 billion barrels, representing nearly one-fourth of the total discovered oil resource in the United States. However, current annual production rates have seen a significant decline, plummeting from the peak of 665 million barrels per year in the early 1970s to less than 300 million barrels per year, barely half the peak production.

Despite this decline, the Permian Basin still retains a substantial volume of oil. Studies conducted by the Bureau of Economic Geology (Tyler and Banta, 1989) estimate that existing reservoirs hold up to 30 billion barrels of mobile oil and 54 billion barrels of residual oil, which could be accessed through tertiary oil recovery technologies. Moreover, these studies suggest that an additional 3.5 billion barrels of oil and NGL resources are yet to be discovered in the basin.

However, one significant obstacle hindering the revitalization of interest and commitment to tapping into this remaining resource has been the lack of up-to-date, fully integrated, and synthesized data sets on various aspects of the Permian Basin. These include the stratigraphic and depositional framework, facies architecture, reservoir properties and characteristics, play boundaries, and applicable reservoir models.

The aim of this project was to address this need by creating and distributing a synthesis of Permian Basin data in readily accessible and usable digital formats.

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