The United States Geological Survey (USGS) announced Thursday that the Delaware Basin, which is part of the larger Permian Basin in Texas and New Mexico, is an oil and gas goldmine.
USGS identified the Permian Basin as the largest continuous oil and gas resource potential ever assessed in the country.
Ryan Flynn, the executive director of the NM Oil and Gas Association, says this means New Mexico could meet the energy needs of the entire U.S. for decades to come.
It’s welcome news for an economy already bolstered by a revenue surplus thanks to oil and gas.
“We really have an unprecedented opportunity thanks to strength of the oil and gas industry and this surplus, which again, I think today’s announcement means this surplus can be the norm rather than the exception. We have an opportunity to hire more teachers, provide healthcare for more New Mexicans, to increase and make our communities safer,” Flynn said.
The Delaware Basin contains an estimated 46 billion barrels of oil, 281 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 20 billion barrels of natural gas liquids.
It means big money for the state, but in the past it’s also brought out concerns about environmental impact.
KRQE News 13 reached out to several environmental groups but haven’t heard back.
Flynn weighed in on possible environmental concerns.
“It’s not an either-or proposition. We can responsibly produce energy to meet our needs and we can protect the environment,” Flynn said.
Sen. George Munoz, D-Gallup, told KRQE News 13 that he also believes this can be achieved responsibly.
Earlier this year, Gov. Susana Martinez announced the state has a surplus of $1.2 billion because of the recent oil and gas boom.
This comes after years of budget cuts due to declining revenues and a bust in oil and gas production for several years.
With all this money, we’re expecting many lawmakers to lengthen their wishlists for the upcoming legislative session.
The legislative session begins Jan. 15 under new Governor-elect Michelle Lujan Grisham.
Lujan Grisham’s team sent KRQE News 13 this statement Thursday:
This discovery is good news for Southeast New Mexico’s economy and New Mexico’s public schools, which depend on oil and gas revenue for a significant amount of their funding. As we diversify our economy and promote alternative renewable energy sources, we will continue to depend on oil and gas development for good jobs and for revenues that we will invest in education and needed infrastructure -roads, airports, water systems, broadband internet-throughout the state.