What might North Dakota oil production have looked like without the drop in crude oil prices?

How many rigs do you see? There are 2 clear rigs in addition to the obvious one. High magnification suggests there are at least another half dozen on the horizon. Photo by James Ulvog in October 2014.
How many drilling rigs do you see? There are 2 rigs for sure in addition to the obvious one. Looking under high zoom suggests there may be another half-dozen on the horizon. Rig towers are much wider than power poles and shorter than the radio tower. Photo by James Ulvog in October 2014.

Just as a matter of pure speculation, I wonder what production of crude oil might be if OPEC, I mean Saudi Arabia, had not opened the production spigots in late 2014?

What might the output be if growth continued at the rate of the last few years?

I tried graphing the production trend assuming the growth in output continued at the average rate of the last two years.

First the graph showing my guess, then my assumptions:

production to 10-15 with guess

Now my assumptions.

From December 2012 through December 2014, total crude production increased from average of 769,502 bopd to average 1,227,529 bopd. That is 24 months, so increase in the average production is 19,084 bopd each month over the course of those two years.

Let’s assume that is a reasonable approximation of what would be a sustainable increase.

Production usually slows in the winter because of harsh weather. In looking at the actual production for 2015 I see production dropped in January and February with an increase in March. I will assume that is the point production could have increased at the two-year average. If I string those assumptions together, I get a graph shown above.

With my assumptions, that means production might have been 1.32M bopd in October instead of 1.17M bopd. That would be a difference of about 0.15M bopd.

This is just a thought experiment. What do you think?

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