Overview of Permian Basin Stacked Pays – the Gift That Keeps on Giving

Production from the Permian Basin of west Texas and New Mexico has sharply accelerated, recently exceeding 4 million BOPD.  The stratigraphic column of the region offers a unique combination of organic rich mudrocks, siliciclastics, and carbonates.  The current configuration of the basin resulted from tectonic activity during the Ouachita orogeny which formed two distinct basins – Midland and Delaware – separated by the Central Basin Platform.  Repeated cycles of high stand systems tracts and low stand systems tracts deposited over 3000 feet of stacked pays in some areas.  During high stands, allochthonous carbonate debris and organic mudrocks were deposited in the basins, while carbonate build ups flourished on platforms.  Low stand phases resulted in platform exposure/erosion while siliciclastic deposits via turbidity currents created lowstand wedges, channels, and fan complexes in the basins.  In addition, favorable thermal maturation and overpressure contribute to the prolific nature of these rocks.   The “Spraberry Trend” of the Midland Basin, once considered “the world’s largest uneconomic oil field” has transformed into some of the most valuable acreage in the world.