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The lead oil and gas regulator in Texas passed new rules for fracking and drilling wells today. (Photo of a Cabot natural gas drill at a fracking site in Pennsylvania.)

What is the Cline Shale?

Background

Texas is blessed with vast deposits of oil and gas, and has enjoyed several drilling booms over the years. The lastest boom began just a few years ago, with the rapid expansion of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” that opened up reserves of fossil fuels trapped in rock shales deep underground. The Barnett Shale in Forth Worth, Haynesville Shale in East Texas and Eagle Ford Shale in South Texas saw an influx of drillers going after oil and gas.

The latest shale to pop up on the radar in Texas is the Cline Shale, a formation in the Permian Basin mostly in Scurry County, Northeast of Midland-Odessa. The shale could have up to 3.6 million barrels of recoverable oil per square mile, according to an industry press release. The shale is 140 miles long and 70 miles wide, meaning that in total, the shale could hole over 30 billion barrels of oil, nearly 50 percent more than there’s believed to be in the other largest domestic oil shales, the Eagle Ford in South Texas and the Bakken Shale in North Dakota.

“There are two primary deficiencies that the Cline Shale region will need to overcome to be able to make history: lack of housing due to exponential population growth to small town infrastructures, and lack of global distribution for the large amounts of liquid gas being produced,” PR Newswire writes. “If the deficiencies are adequately addressed, the boom stands a better chance of maintaining momentum.”

County and town leaders are already working to prepare for the impending boom. “We want to be ahead of the game, and come together to plan for what our community and citizens are going to need during this time,” Bill Lavers, executive director of the Development Corportation of Snyder told the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. “We want to make sure that when it is over, Snyder and Scurry county are left in good shape.”

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