There is no doubt that fracking stopped the long-term decline in U.S. oil output. Since the all-time low output in 2006, daily oil production has increased by 30%. Natural gas production has soared even higher, but seems to have leveled off. Ignoring the environmental impacts of fracking, just the economics alone show that shale oil and gas are not the miracle that will save us from the perils of peak cheap oil. Fracking extraction of oil is extremely expensive. If oil prices were to fall to $80 per barrel, there would be no profits for frackers. They would stop drilling wells. So don’t plan on ever paying less than $3 per gallon for gasoline ever again.
Other inconvenient truths about fracking are self evident, but covered up by the MSM and Wall Street shysters.
- To maintain production of 1 million barrels of oil a day from Iraq one needs to drill just 60 new wells a year. Extracting the same amount from the Bakken would require 2,500 new wells.
- A typical fracked well poked in the ground in Oklahoma in 2009 debuted with an output of about 1,200 barrels of oil per day. Just four years later, however, output from the same well has fallen to just 100 barrels of oil per day.
- To double that output from the Bakken, for instance, would require 5,200 new wells a year, and tripling it would require 7,800 and so on. Then, to the horror of all, less than a decade after all that was done, that additional million barrels of oil a day in production would be reduced to just 100,000, no matter what the oil companies do, because of the nature of the formation where the well was drilled.
- California’s Monterey Shale, which the U.S. Energy Information Agency thought contained 13.7 billion barrels of oil in 2011, came up a little light in the loafers. Closer examination revealed the formation to be much more broken up underground than previously thought — so much so that only around 600 million barrels may ultimately be recovered with current technology. That’s a 97 percent downgrade, and there is no guarantee that other rosy predictions of shale oil riches both in the U.S. and elsewhere won’t have similar outcomes.
The best fracking locations were selected first. As time goes on, the new locations will be less productive. The existing locations deplete rapidly. The shale oil and gas boom will be peaking out over the next few years. Don’t believe in miracles.