US overall crude oil production has reached more than 10% of the world’s total production, up from 9% in the fourth quarter of 2012, according to a new report by the Energy Information Administration (EIA).
As of the fourth quarter of 2013, the US is contributing more than 10% to total global crude oil supply thanks largely to advances in hydraulic fracturing and drilling technology behind the production boom in Texas, North Dakota and other burgeoning venues in the West.
Carrying the weight of the production increase is tight oil, which averaged 3.22 million barrels per day (MMbbl/d) in the fourth quarter of 2013, pushing up the overall crude oil production average to 7.83 MMbbl/d.
The report noted that the US and Canada are the only major producers of tight oil, which refers to oil found within reservoirs with very low permeability, including but not limited to shale, and which requires advanced drilling technology to get oil and gas moving through a rock formation.
Switching to first quarter 2014 data, the EIA noted that in February, 63% of US tight oil production came from the Eagle Ford basin in south Texas and the Bakken Shale in North Dakota and Montana. Eagle Ford contributed 36% of the US total tight oil production, while Bakken contributed 28%.
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“Tight oil production in the United States represents 91% of all North American tight oil production, with the remaining 9% coming from Canada,” according to the report.
In Canada, the bulk of tight oil production is in the country’s western provinces of Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.
Outside of North America, only Russia has succeeded in producing commercial quantities of crude oil from tight formations. The 0.12 MMbbl/d of tight oil produced in Russia in 2013 accounted for 1% of its total oil production, according to the EIA.
However, the recent launch of drilling in the Bazhenov shale in Western Siberia could change this playing field in the near future.
The Bazhenov covers 2.3 million square kilometers or 570 million acres, which is the size of Texas and the Gulf of Mexico combined and represents an area 80 times larger than Bakken.
According to the EIA, an estimated 75 billion barrels of technically recoverable shale oil resources may lie in the Bazhenov formation.
In early January this year, Shell and Gazprom Neft began drilling at Bazhenov through their joint venture, Salym Petroleum Development (SDP).
By Charles Kennedy of Oilprice.com