Rising US shale production has turned the United States into the world’s largest oil and gas producer, changing the country from a large importer of energy to a big exporter in less than a decade. In less than eight years, US oil production has climbed from under six million barrels per day (mmbpd) to more than 12 mmbpd and, similarly, US gas production in the last decade has increased by about 50 per cent.
This can be attributed to the success of shale production, which has been powered by techniques such as horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing. The technique used for shale production requires: First, drilling a vertical well to the targeted rock, followed by horizontal drilling, and hydraulic fracturing or fracking. In fracking, water, chemicals, and sand are pumped at high pressure into the well to unlock the gas trapped in shale rocks by opening cracks or fractures in the rock and allowing gas to flow from shale into the well and onto the surface.
These techniques have converted reserves that were previously thought of as commercially unfeasible into large producing assets. Read more
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