Evaluating production potential of mature US oil, gas shale plays

Rafael Sandrea IPC Petroleum Consultants Inc. Tulsa US oil supply has been on an unprecedented surge of 1.3 million b/d from an all-time low of 4.95 million b/d in 2008. Current production of crude oil is 6.3 million b/d, the highest since 1997, and is expected to increase another 370,000 b/d in 2013. This exceptional growth in output was triggered mainly by major breakthroughs in production technology for tight oil resources headed by the Bakken, Eagle Ford, and Niobrara plays (Fig. 1). As recently as 5 years ago, we learned to efficiently drill horizontal wells with laterals as long as 8 miles and complete them with as many as 40 hydraulic fracs. This modern technology has shaped a meg...

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