Monday, November 12, 2012

Will U.S. be #1 oil producer by 2017, or will forecast founder on decline in oil fracked from shale?

The U.S. will overtake Saudi Arabia and Russia as the world's largest oil producer by 2017, according to a new global report. This is the first time the International Energy Agency, the developed world's most respected energy forecaster, has made such a prediction. It is "one of the clearest signs yet of how the shale revolution is redrawing the global energy landscape," Guy Chazan and Ed Crooks of The Financial Times report.

The IEA said in its world energy outlook today that the U.S. will be "all but self-sufficient in net terms" by 2030, a reversal of "the trend seen in most other energy-importing countries," the report says. It also says this trend will shift the direction of international oil trade toward Asia. The increase in U.S. production comes as federal fuel-efficiency measures are set to decrease demand for oil. IEA says this will decrease oil imports, and make North America a "net oil exporter" by 2035.

Some experts say that because the U.S. oil boom "is still in its infancy," continued growth to the levels predicted by IEA can't be guaranteed, Chazan and Crooks report. The boom began with increased natural gas production, which was made possible by hydraulic fracturing. Those drilling techniques have recently been used to tap vast oil reserves in North Dakota and southern Texas shales. The decline rate of shale wells is "very steep," Chazan and Crooks report. Analyst Barclays Capital has found that one year after being accessed, production has dropped by about 20 to 40 percent. (Read more)

No comments: