A new oilfield in Texas will provide the country’s largest natural gas production boom in more than 20 years, with the U.S. shale revolution now in full swing.

    The $5.5 billion Texas Oil and Gas Commission (TOGC) announced the approval Thursday of an application to drill the first well in the Bock County field in western Texas, about 20 miles north of the city of Lubbock.

    The first well is expected to begin producing gas in late 2017 or early 2018.TOGCC Chairman Robert Gagnon said the oilfield is part of the “world’s largest oilfield,” with 1.7 billion barrels of natural gas storage potential, 1.6 billion barrels in the gas wellhead, and an estimated 300 million barrels in reserves.

    The first gas well will produce up to 5 million cubic feet of gas per day, Gagnons statement said.

    The Texas Railroad Commission, which oversees the project, said it will lease the site to a consortium of oil and gas companies and private investors.

    “This will be the largest-ever shale gas well in Texas, surpassing all previous oilfield sites in Texas,” Texas Oil & Gas Commission Chairman Bob Gagnan said in a statement.

    “This is an exciting time for Texas.”

    A new oil field in Texas is seen in this undated handout photo provided by Texas Oil Company (Texas Oil & Gas) showing a view of a site in Bock county, Texas.

    The oilfield, which is expected eventually to produce 1.5 million barrels of gas annually, is located near the town of Bock in southwest Texas.

    The TOGC, which regulates the oil and natural gas industry in the state, has given the project an $18.2 billion environmental review.

    The site is about 40 miles south of Boon, a town of 1,600 people located about 45 miles northwest of Austin.

    The town’s population was about 13,500 at the end of March.

    The Bock site is also located about 50 miles west of the state capital of Laredo, which borders the area.

    The proposed project is a joint venture between two Texas companies, Texas Oil Exploration and Production (TEOEP) and Bock Energy, and a subsidiary of a major Texas oilfield company, Schlumberger Energy.

    Bock Energy has partnered with TEOEP and is working with a private developer to develop the oil field, according to TEOEp.TEOE and BOCK are part of a larger oilfield development effort that includes a $1.8 billion Texas shale gas field, and the production of about 1.1 billion barrels per year of natural-gas liquids, or LNG.