Industrialized Cyclist Notepad

Hamilton on the future of U.S. shale oil

Throwing a little cold water on some recent, loudly reported unscientific predictions. When you read Hamilton, always be sure to read the comments by Jeffrey Brown for an important Big Picture view.

In addition to the uncertainties noted above about extrapolating historical production rates, the rate at which production declines from a given well over time is another big unknown. Another key point to recognize is the added cost of extracting oil from tight formations. West Texas Intermediate is currently around $85/barrel. With the huge discount for Canadian and north-central U.S. producers, that means that producers of North Dakota sweet are only offered $61 a barrel. Tight oil is not going to be the reason that we return to an era of cheap oil, for the simple reason that if oil again fell below $50/barrel, it wouldn’t be profitable to produce with these methods. Nor is tight oil likely to get the U.S. back to the levels of field production that we saw in 1970. But tight oil will likely provide a source of significant new production over the next decade as long as the price does not fall too much.

via Econbrowser: Shale oil and tight oil.


History of Texas Crude Oil Production

According to the Railroad Commission of Texas.

Some individuals recently noting the difference between RRC and EIA production numbers. From a comment by Jeffrey Brown:

Total US Crude Oil Production (EIA, mbpd):

2002: 5.746
2003: 5.681
2004: 5.419
2005: 5.178
2006: 5.102
2007: 5.064
2008: 4.950
2009: 5.361
2010: 5.476
2011: 5.662

Total US Crude Oil Production, using RRC data for Texas, instead of EIA (Gap Between the two data sets):

2002: 5.615 (+131,000 bpd)
2003: 5.548 (+133,000)
2004: 5.303 (+116,000)
2005: 5.059 (+119,000)
2006: 4.948 (+154,000)
2007: 4.898 (+166,000)
2008: 4.813 (+137,000)
2009: 5.199 (+162,000)
2010: 5.285 (+194,000)
2011: 5.324 (+338,000)

The Yergin Gap

Chart by Jeffrey Brown (aka “westtexas”).