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The oil-rich Permian Basin stretches from west Texas, just south of Lubbock to just south of Midland-Odessa, and into southeastern New Mexico.
The original oil resource in the Permian Basin reservoirs is estimated at 95 billion barrels. But until recently many thought as much as two-thirds of that oil would be stranded – meaning it could not be recovered – from the producing formations.
A critical part of Energen Resources' (ERC) oil and gas exploration and production business is its ability to add value to acquisitions by rejuvenating older fields with new technology. That’s been particularly true in the Permian Basin plays.
ERC used waterflood operations to revive the North Westbrook Unit, a field it acquired in 2005. Since then, production jumped from 900 barrels a day to nearly 5,000 barrels a day, close to the field’s peak production in 1985, when Chevron Corporation operated it.
That field (Westbrook Field) is also home to a piece of West Texas history: the Permian Basin’s oldest oil producing well, W. H. Abrams #1 (commenced drilling in Feb 1920), which is credited with fueling the growth of Midland and Odessa from cow towns to boomtowns. Both towns have ridden booms and busts over the years, but they are once again bustling, thanks to Permian oil and liquids production.
ERC employs about 210 people in its Midland District, and at year-end 2013, the company's Permian Basin holdings represented approximately 71 percent of ERC's proved reserves. It also contains 99 percent of the company's oil reserves.
ERC allotted about 94 percent of its 2013 capital spending budget to development of its Permian Basin properties. That allotment is estimated to increase to approximately 99 percent in 2014.