Which states will be next in the oil boom?


Improvements in technology have opened up new areas for oil production.

The current Texas oil boom, spurred in part by technological advances in shallow well jet pumps and drill stem testing, has had an intensely positive effect on the state. Besides enabling the Lone Star State to provide the rest of the country with a reliable source of energy, it's also transformed local communities and injected capital and growth into areas where drilling is occurring. Which states might be next to reap these benefits?

One potential candidate is California, whose Monterey Shale could be one of the few formations to match the potential of the Eagle Ford shale. Estimates suggest that it could hold over 400 billion barrels of oil, about half the amount of conventional oil in Saudi Arabia. Tapping into the 15 billion recoverable barrels could create near 3 million new jobs yearly, according to a recent study by the University of Southern California. 

Oklahoma has already made moves in hopes of spurring a boom, and is currently the third fastest growing state in terms of crude production. In fact, it's doubled its output in just three scant years. This increase has come on the strength of the Woodford Shale, described by Continental Resources Inc. as one of the thickest, best quality resource shale reservoirs in the country." One of the next big targets, 93 wells have already been drilled into it, yielding 17,550 barrels of oil per day in the second quarter of 2013, four times more than last year's pace. 

Over in the Rocky Mountains, Colorado has emerged as a strong player. The state has already approved more permits than it did last year, issuing 1,200 passes to drill horizontal wells. In the state's northwest region, the Green River Formation is estimated to hold enough oil to solve the world's needs for 100 years, or some 3 trillion barrels. While current attempts to get at it have been slow, innovative design in hydraulic lift equipment could hold the answer to getting the full benefit of the state's potential reservoirs. 

Louisiana is also positioning itself well to remain a major player in the oil game.  The Tuscaloosa Marine Shale spans 2.7 million acres and is thought to hold 7 billion barrels of recoverable oil. The formation could potentially be compatible with modern fracking techniques, a possibility which has many companies highly interested in exploring the region's possibilities.In Northern Louisiana, the Smackover Brown Dense Shale has an estimated 3 million barrels of recoverable oil.

Any of these areas that are able to take advantage of the current boom would benefit immeasurably from doing so.