This week, Oil and Gas Investor spoke with energy industry insiders at the analytical firm Wood Mackenzie .
The Houston-based group is out with a new report this month that shows U.S. oil production in a full-growth mode.
The report concludes that technological advancements, along with two big shale oil sites, are driving tight-oil output.
This is from the report:
Liquids production from the U.S. is staging a strong surge in growth, mainly driven by the sharp rise in drilling activity on the two main tight-oil plays, the Eagle Ford and Bakken.
Wood Mackenzie forecasts U.S. tight-oil production to rise from 1.5 million b/d in 2012 to 4.1 million b/d in 2020 with tight oil providing 45% of total U.S. crude production by 2020.
Tight-oil plays cover large expanses across the US and now show competitive development economics with some plays having break-even prices below US$70 per barrel, translating into a strong appetite for investment. We believe there is potential upside to our forecast not only from new emerging plays, but also from continued growth in the Eagle Ford and Bakken as operators leverage efficiencies.
The pace of non-OPEC production growth this decade is relatively strong, increasing by over 8 million b/d from 2011 to 2020, an annual average growth rate of almost two percent. Outside the U.S., other key non-OPEC growth areas are Brazil (pre-salt plays), Canada (predominantly oil sands and some upside from tight oil) and Kazakhstan (new and expansion projects).
Oil and Gas Investor reached out to Wood Mackenzie senior analysts Phani Gadde , Matthew Partridge and Hill Vaden to elaborate on the report and explain the far-reaching impact of U.S. tight oil on the energy market and on investors.
Here is what they had to say:
OGI: Why is U.S. tight-oil production on the rise?
WM: The main reason for the growth in tight-oil production is the simultaneous combination of the decline in gas prices, strength of oil prices and improvements in technology. Industry proved so successful applying hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling to unconventional gas reservoirs that the price of natural gas fell to a point that drilling is no longer sustainable in many plays. Operators sought improved returns, and high oil prices incentivized them to look at oilier assets. The same technology that produced the shale-gas boom -- hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling -- is proving successful in tight-oil formations.
OGI: What role