Sedimentary basin in the United States with large mineral and fossil fuel deposits

Permian Basin is in the Big Bend Country of Texas.


  • 1 Midland
  • 2 Monahans , home of the Million Barrel Oil Museum.
  • 3 Odessa

Other destinations

  • 1 Fort Lancaster State Historic Site, 629 Fort Lancaster Road, Sheffield (80 miles east of Fort Stockton, 35 miles west of Ozona), +1 432-836-4391. Daily 9AM-5PM. Ruins of an 1850s frontier fort that protected the wagon trail from San Antonio to El Paso. Visitor center with displays, exhibits, and merchandise. $5 a person.    
  • Monahans Sandhills State Park , Park Road 41, (30 miles west of Odessa on I-20, exit mile marker 86), tel. 432 943 2092. Almost 4000 acres of dunes up to 70 feet high, with hiking, horse and camel riding, picnic spots and sand surfing. Camping available.



The Permian Basin refers to a subterranean basin, dating to the Permian Period of the late Paleozoic Era around 300 million years ago. Nowadays, it is buried deep beneath this part of the Edwards Plateau, yet it is this primordial basin which lends its name to the region, because it is responsible for the economic windfall which has made the area flourish; every year, the area pumps over 200 million barrels of oil from the buried basin strata. Indeed, driving through the countryside, it is impossible not to notice the hundreds of pumpjacks dotting the grassy landscape. Once collected, the oil is processed in the refineries of the Midland-Odessa area, which serves as headquarters for the Permian Basin oil and gas industry. The Permian Basin region is rated as the biggest inland petrochemical complex in the States.

In the 21st century fracking has revived the economies of Odessa and Midland, but dramatic overcrowding and a rise in housing prices has become an unwanted side effect. There were no places available for rent as of 2012. Many people from around the country have found high paying, yet arduous and often dangerous, jobs in the area. Local law enforcement officials have migrated to these higher paying jobs resulting in an increase in crime and traffic accidents. The once slow paced towns in the area have been transformed into hectic, lawless "gold rush" communities. No where is this more evident than in the smaller surrounding towns like Pecos and Monahans. You'll see a stark contrast of old, neglected and abandoned buildings next to newly constructed apartments, motor lodges, hotels and restaurants. If you want to make some quick, hard money, go now because it won't last forever and when the "high" ends, the "crash" will be devastating. The lifelong locals are very familiar with a cyclic energy based economy.

Get in


By air


Midland has regular air service from major Texas cities and a few out-of-state places like Las Vegas

By car

  •   only passes through a small sliver of the region in eastern Pecos County around Sheffield and Iraan, as this is the only part of the Permian Basin that comes this far south (the remainder of Pecos County, including Fort Stockton, is considered part of the Trans-Pecos subregion). I-20 begins/ends at I-10 at mile marker 188 of I-10.
  •   cuts through the region as the main east-west highway from Dallas-Fort Worth to El Paso, and is the principal means of arriving by car. Some smaller highways provide other options for those driving in from the north or south.
  •   connects the region with Hobbs, New Mexico to the north, and joins US-385 at Fort Stockton to the south.
  •   comes up from Big Bend National Park in the south and passes through many smaller towns of the western Llano Estacado and High Plains on its long journey to Deadwood, South Dakota.

Get around

  • Meteor Crater at Odessa - This National Natural Landmark is the third biggest crater in the States.
  • Jack-rabbits flashing through the meadows, or Jack Ben Rabbit, the largest jackrabbit in the world, a 10-foot-tall statue in downtown Odessa that is the unofficial mascot of the region.
  • Sand-surfing at the Monahans Sandhills. Do not bring marijuana! Even though it makes the experience more engaging and mind-blowing, it's still illegal.



Stay safe


Violent crime and theft, while probably not likely to be a threat to you personally on a trip to the Permian Basin, does simmer a bit in this oil boom/bust economy, particularly in Odessa.

Natural hazards include particularly high heat in the summer; typical desert safety precautions should be observed. Wise travellers should plan indoor activities for the heat of the day and drink plenty of water at all times to avoid heat stroke and dehydration. Morning and evening are considerably cooler even in the summer, and are the best times for outdoor activities. Travellers should also be aware that, while infrequent, sand and dust storms occur in this region and can be very dangerous to drive in, much less be exposed to outdoors. Warning signs of impending sandstorm are very high winds and dark "clouds" that appear to be on the horizon, indicating dust blown up by winds at ground level. It is strongly advised to seek shelter during such storms, and if driving is necessary, to drive with extreme caution as winds can unexpectedly blow your vehicle over by several inches.

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