FARMINGTON, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s being called the most significant natural gas discovery in the San Juan Basin in 14 years.

The recent discovery by BP in the Mancos Shale resulted in production rates not seen in some time.

Robert McEntyre with the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association believes this major development could have a significant impact on the state.

“It could mean additional drilling activity, it could mean additional exploration activity, it could generate significant new interest in the San Juan Basin,”  McEntyre said.

The majority of the oil and gas activity in the state takes place in the Permian Basin – that’s located in the southeastern portion of the state.

However, McEntyre thinks this could bring more companies to the Mancos Shale in the northern part of the state.

This could mean mega economic benefits to the area of San Juan and Rio Arriba counties as well as the entire state.

“We look at 50 to 100 jobs per drilling rig coming into the state, working on site. Those jobs are jobs in our community,” McEntyre said.

McEntyre adds that while market prices have remained low, the increase in nation-wide production has kept oil and gas producers optimistic.

The oil and gas industry makes up for one-third of the state’s budget.