U.S. Geological Survey Discovers “Largest Oil & Gas Deposit Ever Discovered In America”

texas-shaleThe U.S. Geological Survey says it has found the largest continuous oil and gas deposit ever discovered in the United States. On Tuesday, the USGS announced that a swath of West Texas known as the Wolfcamp shale contains 20 billion barrels of oil and 16 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. That is nearly three times more petroleum than the agency found in North Dakota’s Bakken shale in 2013. — Rebecca Hersher, NPR, 16 November 2016

For those who might be wondering, the estimate for the Wolfcamp Shale is almost 19 times larger than the USGS estimate of continuous oil in place for the Eagle Ford Shale, released in 2012. To put the magnitude of this estimate for the Wolfcamp Shale into further context, the Prudhoe Bay formation on the North Slope of Alaska, to date the largest producing oil field ever discovered in North America, has produced just over 12 billion barrels oil over the past 43 years. The largest producing oil field ever discovered in the Lower 48 states of the U.S., the East Texas Field, has to date produced just over 7 billion barrels since the early 1930s. –David Blackmon, Forbes, 15 November 2016

In a troubled oil world, the Permian Basin is the gift that keeps on giving. One portion of the giant field, known as the Wolfcamp formation, was found to hold 20 billion barrels of oil trapped in four layers of shale beneath the desert in West Texas, the U.S. Geological Survey said in a report on Tuesday. That’s almost three times larger than North Dakota’s Bakken play and the single largest U.S. unconventional crude accumulation ever assessed. At current prices, that oil is worth almost $900 billion.  –Joe Carroll, Bloomberg, 15 November 2016

Surplus LNG volumes, supplemented by new production in the US, Australia, Canada and East Africa, “will create the catalyst for a second natural-gas revolution, with far-reaching implications for gas pricing and contracts” – so says the International Energy Agency (IEA) in its latest World Energy Outlook, unveiled at a Westminster, central London press conference this morning. –Arthur Fields, Highbury Clock, 17 November 2016

U.S. shale producers are redeploying cash, rigs and workers, cautiously confident the energy sector has turned a corner after Donald Trump’s election victory and OPEC’s recent signal that it plans to curb production. The downturn produced a leaner, more efficient U.S. shale industry that was forced to develop and quickly adapt new technology to compete with conventional oil supplies during a two-year period of depressed prices. The U.S. oil drilling rig count has grown 6% since OPEC’s September accord, according to oilfield analytics firm NavPort, with additions across the country’s top shale fields including the Permian (7%) and the Bakken (17%). —Reuters, 14 November 2016

The EU claims to be promoting an ambitious agenda at the Marrakesh climate conference, but its latest piece of energy legislation could subsidise new coal capacity and undermine market access for renewables. On 30 November, the European Commission will unveil its Winter Package, a series of legislative proposals supposedly aimed at providing “clean energy for all”, of which EurActiv.fr has obtained a copy. One contentious issue is the introduction of capacity mechanisms across the EU. The absence of a CO2 emissions cap for new electrical capacity in article 23 of the new electricity market regulation means it has potential to be used to subsidise new coal-fired power stations. –Aline Robert, Euractiv, 16 November 2016

China’s top planning body has relaxed working day restrictions on its coal mines after reduced output boosted prices, frustrating central planners’ desire to control both price and supply of the nation’s most important energy source. China’s National Development and Reform Commission said on Thursday that all mines could produce for 330 days each year, after last week extending a production band of 276-330 days through the end of March. —Financial Times, 17 November 2016

David Cameron’s departure from Downing Street, and the arrival of Theresa May, heralds a rather deeper change. The Department of Energy and Climate Change, Whitehall’s bastion of greenery, has been closed down and its functions folded into a department whose priorities are business, energy and industrial strategy. The Government has already given the green light to shale gas extraction, improving the prospect for affordable and secure supplies of domestic energy, which pleased business. Now they could take an axe to that “green crap” and demonstrate an immediate impact on voters’ pockets. -‚ÄìMark Wallace, Conservative Home, 16 November 2016