Putting the Bakken and Eagle Ford shale fields into perspective

Let’s talk round numbers.  Half a million barrels of oil a day from each of two new fields, Bakken and Eagle Ford.  Minimal production just a few years ago. I’m making a totally wild guess that production will double in the next year or less.

There’s an old game of If such-and-such was its own country, it would be the Xth largest in the world. For example, if California were its own country, only six European countries would be larger in population.

Let’s play that game with just the Bakken and Eagle Ford fields.

If they were an independent country, those two fields would be tied at the 22nd largest oil producer in the world. If they double production, they would be the 15th largest, behind Algeria and Nigeria.

At a million barrels per day, that is about 1.1% of the world’s production in 2011.  At 2 million, that is about 2.2% of the world’s production. From fields that were essentially unknown 5 or 10 years ago.  In 2011, the U.S. had about 8.9% of the world’s daily oil production.  Adding 2% is huge.

If that doesn’t stretch your brain, there are another 5 or 10 fields out there, each of which could maybe, possibly, be a new Bakken or Eagle Ford.  If that hasn’t stretched you out enough, there are similar stories starting in Europe.

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