World hydrocarbon supply ‘relatively boundless,’ SEG told

Geophysical advances have contributed to the identification of a "relatively boundless supply" of oil and gas worldwide, Barry Smitherman, chairman, Texas Railroad Commission (RRC), told the Society of Exploration Geophysicists annual meeting Sept. 23.

Texas oil production alone, 1.76 million b/d in the first 6 months of 2013, would rank third behind 2.9 million b/d of imports to the US from Canada and 2.2 million b/d of imports from the Persian Gulf, Smitherman said. Imports from Saudi Arabia would rank fourth.

Including natural gas liquids, Texas is producing well above 2 million b/d of petroleum liquids and could double the figure by 2020 and triple it by 2025, Smitherman estimated.

The Eagle Ford shale alone is making about 600,000 b/d of oil, up from nothing 5 years ago, and could attain 1 million b/d within a year.

The state issued more than 13,400 drilling permits in the first 6 months and estimates that the 2013 total will reach a near record of more than 23,000, he said. RRC has reduced permitting time to 5 days/well and is shooting for 3 days, he added.

Texas gas production fell to 20 bcfd in the first half, 5 bcfd of that from the Barnett shale, from the record 22.6 bcfd in 2011. The Barnett has yielded 13 tcf, and a recent study estimated its remaining potential at 44-80 tcf.

SEG, which had 9,400 people registered for the Houston meeting and expects upwards of 10,000, has 40% of its members as US residents and only 5% of student members in the US, said David Monk, SEG president.

Monk said 25% of SEG members express interest in near-surface geophysics. The organization is building a new headquarters scheduled to open at the end of 2014 in Tulsa.

Contact Alan Petzet at

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