By SUSAN MONTOYA BRYAN
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Some of the largest energy companies in the U.S. have already invested billions of dollars on claims up and down the Texas-New Mexico state line, tapping one of the nation's richest and most prolific oil and natural gas regions.
Now the stakes just got higher, as the U.S. Geological Survey announced Thursday that portions of the Permian Basin could hold even more promise.
The agency pegs that potential at more than 46 billion barrels of oil and some 280 trillion cubic feet of gas, or the largest continuous oil and gas resource potential ever assessed.
But the agency's geologists acknowledge that more study would be needed to determine if it would be profitable to go after the resources.
Still, industry groups are encouraged and say the assessment underscores the activity that's already happening in the basin.
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