(CNN)Geologists say a new survey shows an oilfield in west Texas dwarfs others found so far in the United States, according to the US Geological Survey.
The Midland Basin of the Wolfcamp Shale area in the Permian Basin is now estimated to have 20 billion barrels of oil and 1.6 billion barrels of natural gas, according to a new assessment by the USGS.
That makes it three times larger than the assessment of the oil in the mammoth Bakken formation in North Dakota. The estimate would make the oilfield, which encompasses the cities of Lubbock and Midland — 118 miles apart — the largest “continuous oil” discovery in the United States, according to the USGS.
“This oil has been known there for a long time — our task is to estimate what we think the volume of recoverable oil is,” assessment team member Chris Schenk told CNN-affiliate KWES Wednesday.
The term “continuous oil” refers to unconventional formations like shale, in which the oil exists throughout the formation and not in discrete pools. The USGS estimates how much oil is considered to be undiscovered but technically recoverable.
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