From Bureau of Economic Geology, The University of Texas at Austin (
For more information, please contact the author.

Austin Geological Society, November 1, 2004

Play Analysis and Digital Portfolio of Major Oil Reservoirs
in the Permian Basin

Shirley P. Dutton


Researchers at the Bureau of Economic Geology and the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources have completed a new digital oil-play portfolio of the prolific Permian Basin of west Texas and southeast New Mexico. The Permian Basin has produced oil for more than 80 years, and it is still one of the largest petroleum-producing basins in the United States. In 2002, it accounted for 17 percent of the total U.S. oil production. Because of the substantial amount of oil remaining in the basin, this new oil-play portfolio was developed as part of DOE’s Preferred Upstream Management Practices program (PUMP).

The portfolio defines 32 oil plays in the Permian Basin and assigns all significant-sized reservoirs that had cumulative production of >1 MMbbl through 2000 to a play. Each of the 1,339 significant-sized reservoirs was mapped in a Geographic Information System (GIS). The portfolio contains a description of each play, including illustrations of key reservoir characteristics, reservoir data tables, and successful reservoir development methods. Enhanced-recovery methods that have been demonstrated to work well in one reservoir in a particular play should be applicable to analogous reservoirs in that play. The oil-play portfolio will be available soon as a Bureau of Economic Geology Report of Investigations on a CD-ROM.