Record increase in U.S. oil production. Lots of shale oil and gas around the world. Explain Peak Oil to me again please. #25

Because of fracking and horizontal drilling, the one year increase in U.S. oil production in 2012 was the largest increase in our history. The bounties from shale could spread to other countries.

U.S. production increase

The Wall Street Journal reports in their article U.S. Oil Notches Record Growth on data released by BP:

In the latest sign of the shale revolution remaking world energy markets, crude production in the U.S. jumped 14% last year to 8.9 million barrels a day,

The 1.04 million bopd increase in production was driven by shale production in North Dakota and Texas.

Check out the cool graph, provided by BP, which shows slow & steady production declines from 1988 through 2008. Then the graph takes a sharp & accelerating turn upward in 2009 through 2012.

And around the world?

The article describes visible hints that the shale revolution could eventually spread elsewhere:

…recent government reports suggest that Argentina and Russia could have enormous deposits of crude oil accessible through fracking. 

Via Meadia explains The World is Swimming in Shale by summarizing a new report from the Energy Information Administration which can be found here

The amount of shale oil and shale gas is huge and the expanded study identifies more technically recoverable that previously realized.

Table 5 shows Russia has the largest amount of technically recoverable shale oil with North America having more that Russia (U.S. is #2, Mexico is #7, and Canada is #9).

The report has lots of detail on shale, including the difficulties in extraction and complexities of drilling. Also distinguishes between technically recoverable and economically recoverable. Good background I’d not read before on the variability of production over the distance of a few hundred feet and the need for a sufficient amount of natural gas in the rock to force oil into the pipe.

Lots of hurdles need to be cleared for shale production to increase elsewhere. The geology is more difficult, the governments and economic systems aren’t as favorable to risk taking, and the people and equipment aren’t available.

Peak Oil

To refresh our memory, Peak Oil doctrine as expressed most clearly in the Hubert curve says oil production peaked in the 1970s and will shortly thereafter enter a severe and irreversible decline in oil production. Won’t develop the idea in this post, but either Hubert is wrong or what we are seeing today isn’t really happening.

The outlook from Via Meadia’s concluding paragraph:

Still, it’s clear that there’s a lot more oil and gas out there than the peak oil Chicken Littles were predicting just ten years ago. And as drilling technology continues to expand, the shale boom will become a more global phenomenon than it already is. 

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