EIA: Shale Oil Set to Double

Brian Hicks

Written By Brian Hicks

Posted June 27, 2012

According to the Energy Information Administration’s newly-released report, the U.S. oil output from “tight oil” prospects will more than double from 2011 levels by 2035.

Tight oil comes from oil reserves in hard to access locations, such as in shale or chalk formations.

The EIA looked at eight oil production prospects including the Bakken in North Dakota, the Eagle Ford shale and Permian Basin in Texas, and California’s Monterey shale.

According to the report, oil from such sources will reach 720,000 barrels per day in 2012, which is around 12.5 percent of the nation’s domestic output. The report is built on the assumption that several general technological and demographic patterns will continue linearly, which may cause problems as this doesn’t account for disruptive innovations.

Much of the recent expansion in oil reserves is the result of just such technological breakthroughs, as horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing have allowed access to oil from enormous shale reserves across the country.

Assuming that the EIA baseline holds true, U.S. oil output will peak at 6.7 million barrels per day in 2020, with 18 percent from tight oil prospects.

Tight oil output will likely reach near 1.33 million barrels per day in 2029 and then begin a downward trend until 2035.

The report doesn’t discuss the Utica shale in Ohio, which is still under development as oil output prospects are uncertain and which could increase these estimates further.

All of this is good news for energy companies, as they have much to look forward to in the coming years of growth.

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