Hail Shale: World Shale Oil Production To More Than Double By 2040

  • Date: 13/08/16
  • U.S. Energy Information Administration

World tight [i.e. shale] oil production is expected to more than double between 2015 and 2040, increasing from 4.98 million barrels per day (b/d) in 2015 to 10.36 million b/d in 2040, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s International Energy Outlook 2016 (IEO2016) and Annual Energy Outlook 2016 (AEO2016).

graph of world tight oil production, as explained in the article text

Most of the projected increase will come from the United States, with much of the rest coming from countries such as Russia, Canada, and Argentina that have significant tight oil resources and existing, developed oil industries.

United States tight oil production, which reached 4.6 million b/d in March 2015 but fell to 4.1 million b/d in June 2016, has proven more resilient to low oil prices than many analysts had anticipated. U.S. tight oil production is expected to reach 7.1 million b/d in 2040 in the AEO2016 Reference case.

Other AEO2016 side cases that have different assumptions than the Reference case about oil prices, technological advances, and resource availability have different projected levels of tight oil production. Two oil price side cases illustrate the effects of higher or lower global crude oil prices. By 2040, the global benchmark Brent crude oil spot price averages $73/b in the Low Oil Price case, $136/b in the Reference case, and $230/b in the High Oil Price case. In the High Oil Price case, drilling activities increase cumulative production. The opposite is true in the Low Oil Price case, where production decreases in response to low prices.

In the resource and technology side cases, the estimated ultimate recovery for tight oil wells in the United States is 50% higher or 50% lower than in the Reference case. Rates of technological improvement that reduce costs and increase productivity in the United States are also 50% higher or 50% lower than in the Reference case. By 2040, these cases result in the largest differences from Reference case production values.

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Annual Energy Outlook 2016

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