Exploring Hydrocarbon Depletion

17 Feb 2017   Peak Oil

Technological advances and learning-by-doing have made U.S. shale oil profitable even at $55/barrel. Just ten years ago shale oil was expensive. Global oil prices spiked to $135/barrel in 2008 but shale oil didn’t and couldn’t respond. Now, at only $55/barrel, U.S. oil producers are going all in, announcing billions of dollars of increased investment, particularly in Texas and North Dakota, and energy experts like Daniel Yergin are expecting U.S. production to increase this year by more than 500,000 barrels per day or about 6%. This remarkable transformation is a perfect example of learning-by-doing. Cost reductions in solar, wind, and batteries get a lot of attention. But fossil fuel producers also learn from experience, and the pace of learning in U.S. shale oil over the last couple of years has been impressive. Recent research by Thom Covert and others help us […]

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