U.S. oil production has experienced a more than 30% decline over the past 50 years. Compared to natural gas that has blossomed since the dawn of the boom in the Barnett Shale, that’s a stark difference. The primary reason for the delay is oil is just beginning to bear the fruit of technology application.
From a geology perspective, there is simply more gas in the ground and companies were chasing the prize of trillions of cubic feet of gas (Quadrillions have been mentioned!). Right now, it looks as if history will show the new shale gas education applied to oil plays. The Bakken Shale is the most advanced and the plays’ production has risen from essentially zero to over 500,000 b/d today. The disclaimer is the Bakken had been targeted before the most recent horizontal drilling revolution, but it wasn’t what it is today. Not close.
Bentek, a energy research firm, believes West Texas and the Eagle Ford will have production grow to 2 mmbbls/d by 2016. That’s double what the whole state produced per day in 2005. With almost 2/3′s of U.S. rigs active in oil plays, West Texas and the Eagle Ford will not be alone in boosting the countries oil production.
Read more on the NBER study at fuelfix.com