U.S. Shale Oil Could Peak by 2020
“Difficult” shale oil resources in the United States could peak in the next few years, leading energy analyst David Hughes to conclude that “their futures may be volatile and shorter than advertised,” The Tyee reports.
Hughes, a fellow of the Santa Rosa, CA-based Post Carbon Institute, drew on actual production data to conclude that “U.S. tight oil production from seven plays such as the Bakken and Eagle Ford will peak by 2020 and never attain production targets forecast by government agencies,” Nikiforuk writes. “Due to average three-year decline rates that range between 60 and 90%, Hughes found that U.S. tight oil production will likely average 73,000 barrels a day by 2040 and not the million barrels now optimistically predicted by government forecasters.”
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Hughes’ research indicates that “real well data contradicts industry and government claims that high quality shale plays are ubiquitous, that technological advances in hydraulic fracturing can overcome the reality of rapid depletion rates, and that large estimated reserves can somehow justify high extraction rates.”
Yet “false promises surrounding these extreme hydrocarbons have led to a tempering of investments in renewable energy, along with truncated public policy on climate change.”