THE PERMIAN BASIN

Seisma Energy Research, AVV (formerly Seisma Oil Research, LLC) presents this article as part of a series of articles on understanding the energy business. We hope you enjoy this series.

The Permian Basin is a sedimentary basin largely contained in the western part of the U.S. state of Texas and the southeastern part of the state of New Mexico. It reaches from just south of Lubbock, Texas, to just south of Midland & Odessa, extending westward into the southeastern part of the adjacent state of New Mexico. It is so named because it has one of the world’s thickest deposits of rocks from the Permian geologic period. The greater Permian Basin comprises several component basins: of these, Midland Basin is the largest, Delaware Basin is the second largest, and Marfa Basin is the smallest. The Permian Basin extends beneath an area approximately 250 miles wide and 300 miles long.

The Permian Basin gives its name to a large oil and natural gas producing area, part of the Mid-Continent Oil Producing Area. Total production for that region up to the beginning of 1993 was over 14.9 billion barrels. The towns of Midland and Odessa serve as the headquarters for oil production activities in the basin.

The Permian Basin is also a major source of potassium salts (potash), which are mined from bedded deposits of sylvite and langbeinite in the Salado Formation of Permian age. Sylvite was discovered in drill cores in 1925, and production began in 1931. The mines are located in Lea and Eddy counties, New Mexico, and are operated by the room and pillar method. Halite (rock salt) is produced as a byproduct of potash mining.

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