State of Texas Advanced Resource Recovery (STARR)

STARR Biennium Report
The STARR Mission

The STARR mission is to conduct geoscience & engineering research to increase the production and profitability of earth resources, including oil, natural gas, hydrogen, geothermal and minerals, within the State of Texas while encouraging responsible economic development and supporting education and environmental stewardship.

STARR Mission

The STARR Program

Texas has produced more oil and natural gas than any other state and remains the largest daily producer, with 3.0 MMbbl/d (million barrels per day) of oil and condensate and 21.8 Bcf/d (billion cubic feet per day) of gas in 2016, according to the Railroad Commission of Texas. No other state, or other region worldwide, has been as heavily drilled for oil and natural gas as Texas.

The BEG currently receives funds from the State to conduct research that assists oil and gas operators in adding new or increasing existing production in Texas. The STARR program since its inception in 1996 has been credited with, by the comptroller’s office, increasing biannual severance-tax and royalty income for Texas by $516 million, or 13 times the cost of the program.

Oil Production in Texas

Oil Production in Texas from 1950. Production from conventional reservoirs peaked in 1973. From this peak level production steadily decreased until about 2000 when the rate of decease leveled out as unconventional production became significant. By 2011 shale oil production from fracing the Eagle Ford Formation in South Texas and the Wolfcamp and Spraberry Formations in the Permian Basin has resulted in a dramatic increase in production. Geologic studies by BEG targeted in both the Eagle Ford Formation and Permian Basin Plays have played an instrumental role in enabling the success of both.

Regional Oil and gas Studies

The STARR program has funded a series of key, regional projects that have aided in the development of the shale gas and shale oil revolution in Texas. The first of these in the Barnett Shale, the first shale gas play, was conducted between 2006 and 2010.  A study of the Eagle Ford Shale, the first shale oil play was conducted between 2010 and 2014. Currently the STARR program is co-funding (with 10 companies) the BEG’s TORA (Tight Oil Resource Assessment) project, dedicated to evaluating the long term oil and gas potential of unconventional plays in the Permian Basin. These studies shave played a fundamental role in the revitalization of oil production in Texas, driven by these unconventional plays. The results of STARR regional studies are used by oil companies as the basic framework for their exploration efforts. By increasing geologic understanding of new unconventional plays STARR has helped to facilitate the ongoing revolution in oil production in Texas.

Technology Transfer

Through reports, publications, conference presentations and workshops focused on specific oil/gas plays STARR has transferred knowledge and insights from its research to both major, mid-sized and smaller oil companies as well as small Texas independent operators.

Those companies attending STARR Workshops since 2009 have included:

AEATX Emerald Bay Exploration Pioneer Resources
Affirmed Resources Endeavor Natural Gas LP Prolifico Exploration
Anadarko Petroleum Excellong Renda Energy
Antioch Energy LLC Five Star Energy Riley Exploration
Apache Corporation Formosa Petrochemical Risco La Sara Operations
Arête Resources Fourhorses LLC Royal Exploration
Atlas Resource Partners Gulf Energy Exploration Sabco Oil and Gas
BASA Resources Gunn Oil Co. Sabco Operating Co.
Bass Enterprises Haimo America Inc. Santos USA Corp
BBX Operating Hallwood Energy SCAL, Inc.
Boardman Industries Hanson Corporation Shell Oil and Mobil Oil (now ExxonMobil)
Boss Exploration Harmonia Inc. St. Mary’s Land and Exploration
BP Hilcorp Stalker Energy
Brigham Exploration Company Huber Starcreek Energy
Burnett Oil IBC Petroleum Surge Energy
Cabot Oil and Gas Imagine Resources LLC T-C Oil Company
Chesapeake Energy Jones Energy Teal Exploration
Cinco Killam Oil TECCorp International
CML Exploration Kinder Morgan Tecolote, Inc.
Cobra Oil and Gas Latigo Producing Texas Crude
Common Resources MPG Petroleum Tracker Resources
Conoco, Incorporated Neumin Production Company TravCon Geology
Copeland Resources Newfield Exploration Company Tri-Star Petroleum Company
Cross Timbers Oil Co. Novus Trinity Brothers
Danmark Energy Oak Spring Energy Union Pacific Resources
Daylight Petroleum Panaco, Incorporated US Enercorp
De la Terra Exploration Pantheon Oil and Gas Valence
Devon Patriot Operating Co. Vision Resources
Devon Energy Petrohawk Vista Resources
Devon Resources Petrotex Whiting Resources
Durango Resources Pi Energy Winchester Energy Limited
Dyersdale Energy Pioneer Natural Resources Zone Energy
Assistance to Operators

A variety of oil and gas companies request reservoir characterization and exploration assistance from STARR. STARR geologists and engineers provide assistance and advice to companies on: optimal development strategies; reservoir heterogeneity and their effects on oil and gas recovery; and evaluation of exploration targets. Over the last 20 years, the STARR program has completed or is currently working on more than 60 field (reservoir characterization) and more than 15 regional studies with over 50 Texas oil and gas operators. In the the 2014-2016 biennium, the STARR program conducted more than 20 field studies and eight regional studies. Key projects included studied of the prolific Wolfcamp and Spraberry Formations that have played a major role in dramatic increase in the oil production in the Permian Basin over the last few years. Incremental severance-tax revenue (as credited by a formula created by the Texas Comptrollers Staff) in the Permian Basin from STARR projects during the 2014-2016 biennium amounted to over $17 million from increased oil production and approximately $4 million in additional gas production.

STARR Reservoir Characterization Studies

STARR Regional Studies

The STARR Philosophy

The philosophy of the STARR program is to work with oil and gas operators in the state of Texas to:

  1. Deploy advanced recovery strategies and newly developed technologies on a field-by-field basis to ensure maximum recovery efficiency;
  2. Encourage exploration in under-developed areas or new plays;
  3. Exploit unconventional hydrocarbon resources.

STARR provides technical support, identifying opportunities for increased production and associated reserves. These areas are then drilled by cooperating companies. STARR personnel provide assistance and advice to numerous operators on optimal development strategies, appropriate well-log suites, styles of reservoir heterogeneity and their effects on oil and gas recovery.

STARR works with oil and gas operators in the state of Texas. The most volumetrically significant oil and gas resources in Texas are in the Gulf Coast and the Permian Basin (see figure below), although STARR’s area of operations encompasses the entire state. 

Oil & Gas Map of Texas

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