Skip to comments.Oil Industry Boosts Efforts to Coax More from Shale
Posted on 03/13/2013 10:08:45 AM PDT by thackney
The oil industry is increasing spending on research that it hopes will make it cheaper and easier to coax more crude and natural gas from shale formations and deep-sea oil fields, extending and accelerating the U.S. energy boom.
The largest oil-field-service firms--Schlumberger Ltd., Halliburton Co. and Baker Hughes Inc.--raised their research and development budgets by 24% from 2010 to a combined $2.1 billion in 2012. In recent years, these companies, which provide a range of services for energy exploration, have become the primary R&D engines of the oil industry, surpassing spending by oil-and-gas companies such as Chevron Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell PLC.
The hunt for new sources of fossil fuels has led energy companies into deeper offshore regions and into dense shale formations, both of which are expensive to develop.
Much of the oil-field companies' research is focused on understanding shale rocks better and developing improved tools to get more oil and gas from these formations. A decade after large-scale exploitation of shales began, the industry is drilling thousands of wells every year in Pennsylvania, Texas, Louisiana, Ohio, Oklahoma and North Dakota, and is testing other shale rocks in California and Mississippi.
Right now, even with horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, new shale wells tap only a small percentage of the oil and gas trapped in small pores in the rock, leaving more than 75% behind.
"From 2004 to 2012, the development of shales was basically, hit it with a big sledgehammer and see what comes out,"
(Excerpt) Read more at rigzone.com ...