US Shale Basins

Shale basins are geological formations that contain significant accumulations of shale rock, a type of sedimentary rock rich in organic material. Over millions of years, heat and pressure have transformed this organic material into hydrocarbons, such as oil and natural gas. Advancements in exploration technology have allowed these previously inaccessible hydrocarbons to be exploited, making the United States one of the most prominent producers of oil and gas in the world.

This map shows seven of the largest shale plays in the United States. Each of these basins contain enormous estimated reserves. In total, these seven basins equal 499,000 square miles (or 319.36 million acres) of potential.

Characteristics of Shale

  • Organic-Rich Rock: Shale rock is rich in organic material, which, under the right conditions, transforms into oil and natural gas.
  • Low Permeability: Shale has low permeability, meaning the hydrocarbons are trapped within the rock and require advanced extraction techniques.
  • Wide Distribution: Shale basins are found worldwide, with significant formations in North America, particularly in the United States.
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