Oil companies eye the panhandle for more oil drilling

Amarillo, TX - Oil companies are ready to start drilling for more oil again and they think the panhandle is the perfect spot.

One reason why is because of high commodity prices.

"Oil prices are up at $100.00 and it's a great time to be investing in oil and mineral resources." Pantera Energy Company president, Jason Herrick, said. "There are a lot of companies, a lot of folks, trying to develop their minerals right now because of the high commodity prices."

Another is new technology.

"Now, you're starting to see companies accessing resources that weren't applicable before," Herrick said.

Oil companies say horizontal drilling is bringing on big changes.

"It's changed the game so, now, instead of just going vertically and having 10 to 20 feet of productive section... now, you've got thousands of feet of productive section." Herrick said.

New technology is also helping oil companies get access to rich natural gas.

"The liquids in the natural gas sale on a per barrel basis, the same as crude oil sells for," said Wayne Hughes, the executive vice president of Panhandle Producers & Royalty Owners Association.

Former state representative Warren Chisum says the Middle East plays a role as well.

"If they close the Strait of Hormuz you could have an interruption of world oil supply that would drive the prices much higher than they are right now." Chisum said. "So instead of having $4.00 gas in July, we could have $6.00 gas in July."

With so many resources for drilling, oil giants do not want to wait.

"There's a record number of drilling rigs in the Texas panhandle... 72 in action today," Hughes said. "That translates to a real economic advantage."

Herrick added, with the new technology, he sees many years of continued drilling and jobs in the panhandle.