CENTRAL BASIN PLATFORM | PERMIAN

A Comprehensive Guide to the Permian’s Central Basin Platform, Featuring Subsurface information, Regional Facts & Statistics

WHAT IS THE CENTRAL BASIN PLATFORM?

The Central Basin Platform (CBP) is a shallow subsurface structure located in west Texas and a portion of southeastern New Mexico.  It sits in the heart of the Permian, between the Delaware and Midland Basins.  With its long history of production, about 45% of the total barrels produced to-date in the Permian have come from the Central Basin Platform.
 

While not as aerially extensive as the Midland or Delaware Basins at 6,400 square miles, migrated oil from the basins charged the shallow carbonate reservoirs to create prolific, albeit localized, conventional fields along the Platform’s edges, many of which have transitioned to secondary and tertiary recovery.  Operators are now looking to bring the latest horizontal drilling and completion technologies to this area.

WHAT NATURAL RESOURCES ARE IN THE CENTRAL BASIN PLATFORM?

In addition to its vast oil and gas reservoirs, there are a wide variety of subsurface natural resources in the Central Basin Platform region, including major sylvite formations that yield a steady supply of potassium salts (potash), a byproduct of which is rock salt.  Given the high water cut in some Central Basin Platform formations, produced water is a valuable natural resource that operators must treat and reinject or recycle for use in hydraulic fracturing or even irrigation.

BUYING OR SELLING ASSETS IN THE PERMIAN?

San Andres Formation

 

The San Andres formation has been the primary driver of Central Basin Platform production for nearly a century.  Vertical wells completed in the porous carbonate rock of the San Andres formation have produced continuously over decades from zones up to 1,000 feet thick.  Well defined transition zones with high water cut have historically been bypassed, however, these areas are increasingly being targeted by operators along with horizontal drilling and enhanced oil recovery techniques.

Central Basin Platform Oil Production

 

The contribution of Central Basin Platform oil production to overall Permian output is considerable, accounting for roughly half of all oil production in the last century.  As the epicenter for much of Permian production, the region is populated with multiple vintages of conventional oil wells, many of which employ enhanced oil recovery techniques, including carbon dioxide flooding.

 

MAP OF THE CENTRAL BASIN PLATFORM

The Central Basin Platform is a tectonically uplifted basement block topped by a carbonate platform. The map of the Central Basin Platform shows how it geologically divides the Delaware and Midland Basins. The Central Basin Platform spans approximately 6,400 square miles.

HISTORICAL AND EMERGING TARGETS IN THE CENTRAL BASIN PLATFORM

The success of the first commercial well drilled in the Permian Basin, which was drilled within the San Andres Formation in the neighboring Midland Basin, quickly spilled over to the Central Basin Platform in the early 1920s. Other historical targets include the Yates Formation and Yeso. Emerging targets in the Central Basin Platform include the Residual Oil Zone (ROZ) along the perimeter of large legacy fields and San Andres Horizontal Drilling (SAHZ), both of which offer operators secondary and tertiary development opportunities. The proven production of historical and emerging targets in the Central Basin Platform continue to make it a low-cost part of many operator's asset portfolios that generate consistent returns.

WHAT ARE THE FORMATIONS OF THE CENTRAL BASIN PLATFORM?

The formations of the Central Basin Platform are mainly comprised of carbonate reef deposits and shallow marine clastic sediments. From youngest to oldest (or shallowest to deepest), the formations of the Central Basin Platform include Tansill, Yates, Seven Rivers, Queen, Grayburg, San Andres, Glorieta, Paddock, Yeso, Abo, and Wolfcamp. While the prolific Wolfcamp underlies the Central Basin Platform, it is not an attractive target given its depth and relative thinness compared to the Midland and Delaware Basin Wolfcamp formations.

ADJOINING BASINS AND NOTABLE FEATURES OF THE CENTRAL BASIN PLATFORM

In addition to its core formations, the Central Basin Platform features a number of nearby adjoining geologic features or basins.

San Simon Channel

Separating the northern end of the CBP from the Northwest Shelf and the northern sides of the Midland and Delaware Basins is the San Simon Channel.  Once a waterway that connected the two largest basins in the Permian, wells drilled in the San Simon Channel produce from Devonian to Upper Permian stratigraphic and structural traps.

Ozona Arch

An eastern extension of the southern CBP, The Ozona Arch separates the Midland and Val Verde Basins.  The structure is a broken forebulge edged by steeply dipping, east/west trending fault zones.

Central Basin Rig Count

The types of rigs operating in the central basin platform reflect its contrasting subsurface and well economics compared to the rest of the Permian.  With most development still focused on relatively shallow vertical wells, operators often use simpler, lower cost rotary drilling, however as the trend toward horizontal wells continues the central basin rig count will grow increasingly diverse.
permian-basin-rig-count

U.S. Rig Count

521

2% ↑ change from previous week.
Last updated 2021-06-02.

Pipelines of the Central Basin Platform

Given its long history and continuous oil production over the last 100 years, the Central Basin Platform has many of the oldest gathering and transportation pipelines in the Permian.  The pipelines of the Central Basin platform include oil, gas, and produced water transportation pipelines as well as carbon dioxide pipelines that service the regions injection wells used for enhanced oil recovery of legacy wells.  Below are the major pipelines of the central basin platform.

CENTRAL BASIN PLATFORM OIL COMPANIES

Most Central Basin Platform oil companies are small, privately held companies, however the top 15 producers by barrel of oil equivalent (BOE) are mainly larger and publicly traded companies. These operators are primarily engaged in conventional vertical drilling in shallow fields along the edge of the platform.

Operator

Oil (Mbbl)

Gas (Mmcf)

BOE (Mboe)

Occidental

1,300

2,600

1,700

Chevron

468

975

630

Marathon Oil

350

1,589

614

ExxonMobil

358

904

509

Apache Corporation

257

595

356

Hess Corporation

276

372

338

Altura Energy

233

621

336

Kinder Morgan

259

351

317

XTO Energy

206

324

260

Shell

145

685

260

Amoco Production Company

206

298

255

ConocoPhillips

88

801

222

BP America

52

386

116

Burlington Resources

50

238

90

Devon Energy

56

140

79

COUNTIES OF THE CENTRAL BASIN PLATFORM

The counties of the Central Basin Platform are weighted heavily in west Texas acreage with the northern end of the platform extending into southeastern New Mexico’s Chaves, Eddy, Lea, and Roosevelt Counties. These counties represent diverse population and land areas, from the more populated Lubbock and Ector counties to the sparsely populated Terrell and Upton counties that span larger swaths of west Texas.

County

State

Population

Land Area (miles)

Land Area (kilometers)

Surface Water

Andrews County

Texas

14,057

1,501 square miles

2,416 km2

0.02%

Chaves County

New Mexico

64,600

6,060 square miles

15,700 km2

0.16%

Cochran County

Texas

3,130

775 square miles

2,007 km2

0.10%

Crane County

Texas

4,165

786 square miles

1,265 km2

0.08%

Crockett County

Texas

3,560

2800 square miles

7300 km2

0.20%

Dawson County

Texas

13,657

902 square miles

1,452 km2

0.20%

Ector County

Texas

134,165

902 square miles

1,452 km2

0.50%

Eddy County

New Mexico

52,706

4,198 square miles

6,756 km2

0.50%

Gaines County

Texas

15,382

1,503 square miles

2,419 km2

0.03%

Hale County

Texas

34,100

1004 square miles

2,600 km2

0.01%

Hockley County

Texas

23,100

908 square miles

2,352 km2

0.01%

Lamb County

Texas

14,000

1,020 square miles

2,640 km2

0.08%

Lea County

New Mexico

60,232

4,394 square miles

7,071 km2

0.07%

Lubbock County

Texas

305,000

895 square miles

2,318 km2

0.55%

Lynn County

Texas

5,920

893 square miles

2,313 km2

0.18%

Pecos County

Texas

16,248

4,765 square miles

7,669 km2

0.02%

Roosevelt County

New Mexico

18,800

2,447 square miles

6,338 km2

0.29%

Terrell County

Texas

969

2,358 square miles

3,795 km2

0.01%

Terry County

Texas

12,700

888 square miles

2,300 km2

0.24%

Upton County

Texas

3,130

1,242 square miles

1,999 km2

0.01%

Val Verde County

Texas

49,025

1,248 square miles

3,233 km2

2.70%

Ward County

Texas

10,528

836 square miles

1,345 km2

0.03%

Winkler County

Texas

6,772

841 square miles

1,353 km2

0.02%

Yoakum County

Texas

7,698

800 square miles

1,287 km2

0.01%

CITIES OF THE CENTRAL BASIN PLATFORM

The cities of the Central Basin Platform represent many of the oldest oil towns in Texas and New Mexico. These cities have supported the oil & gas industry’s drilling and field operations for a century and range in size from Lubbock with a population greater than 250,000 to Sanderson in the expanse of Terrell County with a population of less than 700.

City

State

County

Population

Land Area (miles)

Land Area (kilometers)

Lubbock

Texas

Lubbock County

254,000

136 square miles

352 km2

Odessa

Texas

Ector County

117,000

51.4 square miles

133 km2

Roswell

New Mexico

Chaves County

47,800

29.8 square miles

77 km2

Hobbs

New Mexico

Lea County

37,800

26.4 square miles

68 km2

Del Rio

Texas

Val Verde County

36,000

20.5 square miles

53 km2

Carlsbad

New Mexico

Eddy County

28,800

31.5 square miles

81.5 km2

Plainview

Texas

Hale County

20,800

13.8 square miles

35.74 km2

Andrews

Texas

Andrews County

17,700

6.96 square miles

18 km2

Levelland

Texas

Hockley County

13,600

10.2 square miles

26.4 km2

Portales

New Mexico

Roosevelt County

11,900

7.95 square miles

20.95 km2

Brownfield

Texas

Terry County

9,720

6.55 square miles

16.9 km2

Lamesa

Texas

Dawson County

9,210

5.14 square miles

13.31 km2

Fort Stockton

Texas

Pecos County

8,360

5.5 square miles

14.24 km2

Seminole

Texas

Gaines County

7,560

3.8 square miles

9.84 km2

Monahans

Texas

Ward County

7,520

28 square miles

72.5 km2

Kermit

Texas

Winkler County

6,070

2.52 square miles

6.5 km2

Littlefield

Texas

Lamb County

5,990

6.28 square miles

16.27 km2

Denver City

Texas

Yoakum County

4,870

2.5 square miles

6.47 km2

Crane

Texas

Crane County

3,760

1 square mile

1.61 km2

Ozona

Texas

Crockett County

3,220

4.67 square miles

12.1 km2

Tahoka

Texas

Lynn County

2,620

2.39 square miles

6.19 km2

McCamey

Texas

Upton County

2,060

2.03 square miles

5.25 km2

Morton

Texas

Cochran County

1,810

1.5 square miles

3.88 km2

Sanderson

Texas

Terrell County

695

4.2 square miles

10.8 kn2

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