U.S. oil production is on the rise, largely due to increases in "tight" oil extracted from shale and other rock formations, according to a recent report by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).
EIA reports that following decades of decline, U.S. oil production has risen in each of the last three years. "While the 2009 increase was driven largely by the growth in deepwater Gulf of Mexico, subsequent increases in domestic crude oil production are primarily the result of the development of tight oil resources," the report states. Significant and rapid production increases in tight oil, which comprises oil produced from shale and other very-low-permeability rocks, have been facilitated by advanced drilling technologies, according to the report.
"Production from the Nation's tight oil plays more than tripled over the past three years, increasing from about 250 thousand barrels per day (bbl/d) in the beginning of 2009 to nearly 900 thousand bbl/d by November 2011," the report states. "Two particularly important tight oil plays, the Bakken formation in North Dakota and Montana, and the Eagle Ford shale in south Texas, accounted for 84 percent of total tight oil production in November 2011."
The heightened focus on oil development in shale and other tight formations is evident in the shift in deployment of active drilling rigs from natural gas to oil, according to EIA. "Production from tight oil plays is expected to continue climbing," EIA states in the report.
Significant increases in tight oil production are also expected from emerging plays such as the Niobrara in Colorado, the Utica Shale in Ohio, the Bone Spring in east Texas, and the Monterey in California, according to EIA. "Oil production from the Niobrara formation, for example, increased from about 15 thousand bbl/d in early 2007 to over 40 thousand bbl/d by the end of 2011," the report states. "The rapid and significant increases in the number of drilling permits issued since the beginning of 2011 in Colorado and Ohio reflect the growing interest in tight oil and gas plays in those states."
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