Research firm Enverus said in its latest report that the sharp decline in production from shale oil wells in the United States has become worse than expected, forcing oil prospectors to work harder to prevent production slippage.
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The company’s conclusion that there will be no increase in US oil production comes after the amount of crude oil extracted from oil shale wells in the US has doubled in the past decade. The declining rate of production over time highlights a fact of life for U.S. shale explorers: Oil wells are most productive in the early months of production, with the fast flow turning into trickles. This reality is why oil production boomed during the shale oil revolution of the 2000s, as companies chased production growth at all costs.
Read more: Shale outgrowths shrink as explorers demand back-drilling
Now, however, most of the land is already owned or leased, providing few opportunities for drilling new areas with vast oil reserves. Companies are considering a range of drilling and production strategies to maximize what they get from each well such as drilling wells closer together, which makes the shale patch a much denser and more difficult place to ramp up production.
“In short, the treadmill industry is accelerating and that will make production growth more challenging than it has been in the past,” said Dane Gregoris, managing director at Enverus Intelligence Research and author of the report published Tuesday.
In the Permian Basin of western Texas and southeastern New Mexico, the most productive oilfields in North America, well production in the Midland region has declined by 0.5% per year since 2014. Well production in neighboring Delaware has fallen even more. since then.
– With assistance from David Withey.
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