Thursday, March 31, 2011

Locating the US Oil Production Recovery

The White House's Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future, released yesterday in conjunction with the President's speech, places considerable stress on domestic production of oil, highlighting the fact that it has increased in the last couple of years, and arguing for further increases.

This post has a few graphs analyzing where the increase is actually occurring (all data from the EIA).  This first one shows US field crude production broken down by the major producing regions:

As you can see, the lion's share comes from the Gulf Coast, with the West Coast (including Alaska) in a secondary but declining role, and the Midwest recovering strongly.  Looking at the same thing as a line graph, we get this:

You can see that the regions powering the recent recovery are mainly the Gulf Coast, and the Midwest.  Breaking the Gulf coast down further, we get this:

So the increase there is mostly due to the federal offshore zones in the Gulf of Mexico, which increased sharply once there weren't quite so many hurricanes blowing through there, and has only been slightly hurt by the aftermath of the Macondo spill.

More interesting is the Midwest breakout, which shows the main producing states as this:

Clearly Bakken production in North Dakota is exploding - I hadn't quite appreciated the degree of this before now, and this makes more sense of the WTI-Brent spread.  There's an interesting background piece by Piccolo at the The Oil Drum (though I don't buy the argument there that a peaking of the per-well rate would presage a peaking of overall production - not in the presence of current high oil prices).  Although quantitatively, this is not the largest contribution to the US recovery, it's the fastest growing and would appear to have significant potential to grow further.  


seriouslyflashy said...

Forigve me for being lazy but I assume you've read the report.
Did you look at the domestic production estimates and do you think they are reasonable? How long do you think U.S. production can continue to climb?


Stuart Staniford said...

seriouslyflashy - the short answer is that I'm not sure till I do some more work on the subject.

Mr. Sunshine said...

The Bakken hockey stick is what you get with frac'ing, but if it's like the local GarCo CO gas scene, you never stop frac'ing, since production rates aren't at all like fluids and gas in sand beds when you have to brwak shale and inject sand (and in ND, lots of oil-based solvents to thin the tight crude oil. Costs and EROEI insure that refined product costs will not come down without an equal drop in frac'ed well production, since it simply costs a lot more to produce this stuff.