Skip to comments.U.S. oil gusher blows out projections
Posted on 02/20/2012 7:56:14 AM PST by thackney
The United States rapidly declining crude oil supply has made a stunning about-face, shredding federal oil projections and putting energy independence in sight of some analyst forecasts.
After declining to levels not seen since the 1940s, U.S. crude production began rising again in 2009. Drilling rigs have rushed into the nations oil fields, suggesting a surge in domestic crude is on the horizon.
The number of rigs in U.S. oil fields has more than quadrupled in the past three years to 1,272, according to the Baker Hughes rig count. Including those in natural gas fields, the United States now has more rigs at work than the entire rest of the world.
Its staggering, said Marshall Adkins, who directs energy research for the financial services firm Raymond James. If we continue growing anywhere near that pace and keep squeezing demand out of the system, that puts you in a world where we are not importing oil in 10 years.
There are doubts that energy independence is that close. But many say the booming shale oil fields in Texas and North Dakota and the growth of deep-water drilling in the Gulf of Mexico will allow the nation to cut its reliance on oil imports significantly over the next couple of decades.
Last month, the U.S. Energy Information Administration upgraded its forecast of crude production in 2025 to 6.4 million barrels per day 1 million barrels more than were pumped in 2010.
Previously, the EIA had projected the U.S. would peak at 6 million barrels in 2022.
The growth that weve seen in shale, thats one of the biggest changes thats contributing to our outlook, said Dana Van-Wagener, a research analyst for the agency. Its evolving so quickly. We werent anticipating enough growth.
Crude prices stable
By the EIAs forecast, the United States will challenge Saudi Arabia as the worlds top oil producer when crude and other forms of liquid petroleum are included. But the U.S. is also the worlds top oil consumer, demanding nearly 20 million barrels a day. So even with an oil boom, the nation still falls far short of its energy demands.
The technology that fueled the national shale gas rush is moving into oil fields. The pairing of fossil fuel production techniques called horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing allowed companies to access previously hard-to-reach natural gas trapped in dense shale rock.
The rush has unleashed a flood of natural gas onto the U.S. market, causing price to dive and making some gas wells uneconomical. Companies have started to close natural gas wells and pull rigs out of gas fields.
Meanwhile, crude oil prices have remained high, with the domestic benchmark West Texas Intermediate price rising 93 cents to $103.24 on Friday.
Pumping crude out of shale rock is more expensive and difficult than getting at natural gas, said Eric Potter, program director for energy research at the University of Texas at Austins Bureau of Economic Geology.
Oil molecules are larger and harder to squeeze through the cracks created by hydraulic fracturing. But the high price of crude makes it worthwhile for many companies.
With natural gas prices being as low as they are, your company could go out of business if you dont manage this carefully, Potter said. People are moving quickly to get into these oil plays. Its a matter of their existence.
The Eagle Ford Shale in South Texas, the Permian Basin in West Texas, and the Bakken Shale in North Dakota have been hubs of the domestic crude boom. They now make up about 40 percent of the nations land-based oil production, noted Adkins, the Raymond James analyst. He projects that proportion will grow to two-thirds by 2015.
Adkins says the Energy Information Administration is vastly underestimating the rapid growth of those oil fields. He believes that crude oil production in the United States will reach 9.1 million barrels by 2015, some 45 percent more than the EIAs forecast.
The reason for the varying projections about the nations crude potential is uncertainty about how much oil is underground and whether technological advances will make it reachable.
That also causes debate about future crude oil prices.
Adkins, for example, says the rising production will help reverse the surging price of oil, pushing it down to $90 per barrel next year.
Others, however, believe oil prices will continue to rise despite the growing supply coming out of U.S. oil fields. Domestic crude prices are closely tied to the world market.
That makes domestic prices susceptible to the global Brent crude benchmark price, which is on the rise due to foreign conflicts and rapidly growing energy demands in developing countries.
The EIA projects the average world oil price will reach about $145 per barrel in 2035, in current dollars, compared to the 2011 average of $93 per barrel. Meanwhile, the agency forecasts gasoline in America will rise to $4.09 per gallon.
As far as drilling and production, its going to be really good and robust, said Michelle Michot Foss, chief energy economist for the University of Texas Bureau of Economic Geology. But consumers will be upset because gasoline prices will continue to be high.
It is because oil prices are so high (combined with new technical advances opening up new plays) that so much drilling is going on. It is drawing new investment dollars. Normally, this will eventually drive the price back down.
Now if only the government would just take its boot off the neck of oil production...
The price will eventually come back down, it will just take time. Speculators and all the garbage with Iran will play a heavy toll but supply will NOT be a factor in gas prices going forward.
What do you think are the chances that oil has been inflated and once the bubble bursts many of these drilling and related operators will not have enough ROI to pay for all the equipment in the field now?
It would be world of hurt to see 80’s style storage yards with rig’s, trucks, skids and equipment lined up behind chain link fences waiting for an asset auction while 10’s of thousands of roughnecks are trying to figure out how to get around and look for new work after their “Trans-Am” has been repossessed.
$4 gas without oil imports is better than $3.50 gas that ends up funding Muslim extremists.
You can be assured this administration will do everything within its power (and that which is forbidden by the US Constitution) to keep energy prices as high as possible. NY State is doing their best to help the Marxist in the WH by throwing up as many roadblocks as possible to drilling for natural gas.
How else can they force us into 1 light bulb/ house with a winter thermostat mandated at 55 degrees F and summer at 80? Don’t think they will do that? Ha, wait for it as it is coming.
How else can they resurrect their failed carbon credit exchange? Gore and Soros have to recover the millions they lost in that scam.
Not so much that there is more drilling, but new recovery methods, especially hydraulic “fracking”, which enables recovery of the “tight” petroleum still remaining even in “dry” wells.
It is there, it is only necessary to let the price to rise high enough to make recovery and reclamation economically feasible.
The supply/demand/price curve works with almost immutable force. The only thing distorting it at the moment is the weight of excessive regulation.
Why aren’t we making oil out of organic trash? We already know how, and it has been done on a small scale at a turkey processing plant. And apparently at competitive price.
Both world-wide and in the US, Supply is growing.
What can they do with all that oil if we have no new refineries?
I think demand is fairly constrained, people are using less than the would like to use, due to high prices and poor economy. Significant amount of people, even world wide, are in a difficult economy. This has reduced consumption from its potential once the economies recover.
However, enough countries are still growing consumption to bring the world wide total into a slow growth and has for a while.
So I don't see the present conditions as a bubble. This isn't a time where most are flying high and overconsuming compared to a stable rate. I think consumption will continue to grow globally.
In North Dakota it is still the Camaro, not the Trans Am. To graduate from many highschools in ND you have to be able rebuild a Camaro engine with a blindfold on while sipping Everclear.
They will go through the same refineries today that are processing imported oil.
We do not have any refinery shortage. Our refining capacity has been above our demand for some time now, we are actually now a net exporter of refined products, since we are refining more than we use.
We have not built any new refineries, but we have been expanding and upgrading the existing ones for many years. That is cheaper than a new refinery, plus you don't have to build new pipelines to carry crude oil and natural gas in as well as products out.
I've worked a lot of big pipeline jobs, mostly natural gas but some oil and products.
I was told a couple years ago that $2~3 million was more typical now for a major line.
The US is also going to be exporting LNG. Some of the facilities to import are currently being converted to export.
If we truly opened up ANWR and more areas offshore, energy independence and a big financial burden would be lifted off the US.
Something smells fishy. I know for darn sure that the past three years have not been friendly to domestic oil production. Maybe these increased numbers are because Bush approved their use before they went online?
Hmmmm! Can you say “smart meters”? Currently being installed EVERYWHERE in NV whether or not you like it. At least for now. There is some talk of a ruling to be able to “opt out” if you want to. Or, wrap your meter in aluminum foil to keep it from broadcasting. Of course NVEnergy will show up to see why their signal is being interrupted. LOL!
On federal land and waters, that is true. But on private land it has been going gangbusters.
Please look at these charts of number of drill rigs, types, and in which states. Texas especially is experiencing quite a boom in drilling and associated facilities.
OPEC has played games before with US oil drilling. By agreeing to cut the prices of their oil, OPEC has turned US booms into busts almost overnight. However, it may be harder for OPEC to do that this time around, because their members need all the money they can get in this suffering world economy. So they will wait to see what increased US supply forces upon them, which probably will not be a whale of a lot until the US can export oil again.
As much as it hurts at the pump, I still actually hope the price doesn’t come down until after the election.
With all the monkey business Soros and his crooked friends played on the oil market running up to the 2004 and 2008 elections, a little turn around is fair play... although, I am sure the crusty old evil man will make billions off the high oil prices and will pour a few millions into getting more of his cronies into office.
His prize was Obama.