The greater Permian Basin in Southeast New Mexico and West Texas is a mature exploration and production region with extensive developments in a wide variety of petroleum systems resulting in stacked target horizons in many areas. Historically, the majority of development in this basin has focused on relatively conventional reservoir targets, but the combination of advanced formation evaluation, 3-D seismic technology, horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing technology is enhancing the development potential of this basin, particularly in the organic rich shales, or source rocks, of the Wolfcamp formation and in the low permeability sand and carbonate reservoirs of the Bone Spring, Avalon and Delaware formations.
In the western part of the Permian Basin, also known as the Delaware Basin, the Lower Permian age Bone Spring (also called the Leonardian) and Wolfcamp formations are several thousand feet thick and contain stacked layers of shales, sandstones, limestones and dolomites. These intervals represent a complex and dynamic submarine depositional system that also includes organic rich shales that are the source rocks for oil and natural gas produced in the basin. Historically, production has come from conventional reservoirs; however, we and other industry players have realized that the source rocks also have sufficient porosity and permeability to be commercial reservoirs. In addition, the source rocks are interbedded with reservoir layers that have filled with hydrocarbons, both of which can produce significant volumes of oil and natural gas when connected by horizontal wellbores with multi-stage hydraulic fracture treatments. Particularly in the Delaware Basin, there are multiple horizontal targets in a given area that exist within the several thousand feet of hydrocarbon bearing layers that make up the Bone Spring and Wolfcamp plays. Multiple horizontal drilling and completion targets are being identified and targeted by companies, including us, throughout the vertical section, including the Brushy Canyon, Avalon, Bone Spring (First, Second and Third Sand) and several intervals within the Wolfcamp shale, often identified as Wolfcamp A through D.