For a few years now the story has been about natural gas. Across the country, producers, and landowners for that matter, are finding their paychecks in the cracks and crevices of shale rocks that were giving up natural gas.
But, a new revolution has begun. From the Bakken up north to the Permian down south, producers are dipping into black gold once again.
The Permian Basin in particular is a 100,000 square mile area in western Texas and southeastern New Mexico. It’s not new to oil drilling. The first commercial well was drilled here in the 1920s and some 30 billion barrels have been produced from its rocks.
And, it’s believed to hold another 106 billion barrels of hydrocarbons. Thanks to advancements in hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, production in the basin has increased 20 percent since the region’s so-called peak in 1974 at 1.9 million barrels per day.
Landowners are getting in on the renaissance as well. Land is leasing at $6,000 an acre in some places.
Yes, it seems oil is back in the game. In 2010, U.S. oil production rose to its highest level since 2002. Currently, there are about 1,204 oil rigs drilling in the U.S. Overall, there are about 294more rigs, both oil and natural gas, drilling this year than last.