How Does America Keep Finding Vast Stores of Energy?

Last week, the Wall Street Journal reported on an energy bonanza. A company discovered a new field with “the equivalent of at least two billion barrels of oil” that “has the promise to become one of the biggest energy finds of the past decade.” But the discovery wasn’t made by a foreign company in the Amazon, or deep in the waters off the coast off Africa, or in Kazakhstan—or any of the other politically treacherous, high-risk, low-infrastructure places where Big Oil has been prospecting for gigantic new gushers. Instead, the lucky firm was Texas-based Apache Corporation, which struck black gold in Texas’s Permian Basin, one of America’s most prolific and picked-over sources of oil and natural gas for decades. It’s as if vintners discovered millions of acres of previously unknown prime grape-growing territory in the Loire Valley. Or the owners of Vail Mountain suddenly happened upon miles of previously untouched ski slopes.

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