October 29, 2011

THE WELLS WILL STILL BE GUSHING WHEN WE CRASH INTO THE SUN:

U.S. dependence on foreign oil wanes as domestic production booms: Energy producers are using technology and new drilling techniques to find crude and coax more production from old wells. (Ronald D. White, 10/30/11, Los Angeles Times)

U.S. net petroleum imports have fallen to about 47% of the nation's consumption, down from a record 60.3% in 2005, Energy Information Administration statistics show. It's been 15 years since the nation's reliance on foreign oil has been this low.

Several factors figure into the import decline, but a big one is a little surprising: U.S. petroleum exploration is experiencing a quiet renaissance with the help of technology and new drilling techniques.

The number of oil rigs in production in the U.S. has reached a 24-year high, according to oil field services company Baker Hughes. In 2005, domestic production was 1.89 billion barrels. This year, experts say, production is expected to surpass 2 billion barrels.

Over the last decade, geoscientists and engineers have come as close as technologically possible to creating a transparent image of the underground, bringing new life to old wells and finding billion-barrel formations, called "elephants."

"What's happening across the U.S. demonstrates how technology again and again opens new doors, and also old doors, that people thought were closed forever," said Daniel Yergin, author of "The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World," the newly released sequel to his Pulitzer Prize-winning book "The Prize."

Bruce Bullock, executive director of the Maguire Energy Institute at Southern Methodist University, was more specific: "Three-dimensional seismic technology has become much more sophisticated. New drilling methods allow them to penetrate formations that were once thought to be impenetrable. So we've seen a lot of investment dollars going back into areas that had appeared very unpromising."

There's no such thing as peak oil, so only taxes will force the transition.

Posted by at October 29, 2011 5:15 PM
  

blog comments powered by Disqus
« IT'S A CAUCUS IN THE FARM BELT, NOT A POLL IN THE BELTWAY: | Main | AN ECONOMIC POLICY FOR A DEFLATIONARY EPOCH: »