The Permian Basin of West Texas and southeast New Mexico is one of the largest and most active oil basins in the United States, accounting for approximately 15 percent of all U.S. oil production. Occidental is the largest operator and largest producer of oil in the Permian Basin, where we account for approximately 15 percent of total oil produced.
In the Permian, Occidental operates more carbon dioxide (CO2) floods than any other CO2 flood operator. Approximately 74 percent of our Permian Basin oil production is from fields that actively employ CO2 flooding, an enhanced oil recovery (EOR) technique in which CO2 is injected into oil reservoirs, causing the trapped oil to flow more easily and efficiently. Each year, we inject more than 650 billion cubic feet of CO2 into oil reservoirs in the Permian, making Occidental one of the largest injectors of CO2 for EOR in the United States and globally. Occidental is an industry leader in applying this technology, which can increase ultimate oil recovery by 10 to 25 percent in the fields where it is employed.
In addition to boosting oil production, CO2 EOR can have environmental benefits. The CO2 circulates within a closed loop; over time, virtually all of the injected CO2 ultimately becomes permanently and safely trapped in the underground oil reservoir. CO2 EOR therefore is a means of permanent geologic storage of carbon dioxide. This could significantly reduce future greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere.
To ensure an adequate supply of CO2 for our EOR operations in the Permian, Occidental relies upon several sources. These include CO2 produced from the Occidental-operated Bravo Dome field in northeastern New Mexico and additional supplies from methane fields in the southwestern Permian.
The Century Plant in Pecos County, Texas, further expands Occidental's EOR infrastructure in the Permian Basin. The plant processes natural gas with high-CO2 content, resulting in methane gas for the market as well as a major source of CO2 for our Permian operations.
Occidental's non-CO2 operations in the Permian are among our fastest-growing assets. More than one-third of this production is from fields in the primary phase of their life cycle. The primary phase is the first stage of oil production, in which a well is drilled into a reservoir and natural energy displaces the oil from the reservoir into the wellbore and up to the surface. The primary phase includes exploration and drilling, including horizontal drilling – a method Occidental frequently uses in its Permian operations.
Since Occidental began significant delineation and development efforts in 2010, production from these non-CO2 assets has increased by more than 110 percent. Occidental's 1.9 million prospective net acres in the Permian encompass plays such as the Avalon shale, Bone Spring, Wolfbone/Wolfcamp, Spraberry, Cline shale, Wolfberry and Delaware.