Equipped as we are with the innovative hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling technologies that have helped us to unlock hitherto economically unattainable formations of oil and gas, the United States and Canada are still the only significant producers of tight oil in the world — which, according to the latest fourth-quarter production reports, has given us quite the leg up. Via RealClearEnergy:
U.S. tight oil production averaged 3.22 million barrels per day (MMbbl/d) in the fourth quarter of 2013, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates. This level was enough to push overall crude oil production in the United States to an average of 7.84 MMbbl/d, more than 10% of total world production, up from 9% in the fourth quarter of 2012.
So, we are still operating under the entirely self-imposed and damaging economic restriction of a crude-oil export ban without which we could fetch higher prices for our wares, because… why?
While we’re on the subject, just to once again doubly debunk the myths that, 1) the shale revolution has only been a boon for those ever-mysterious Big Oil barons rather than small and mid-size businesses, and 2) that the Obama administration has done anything to help this sucker along in the slightest, here’s a nicely succinct statistical summary form William Dunkelberg at Forbes:
There are more than 20,000 small and mid-size companies participating in the energy boom, with an average of 15 employees. These firms account for almost all of our energy boom. Oil and gas output on private land is up over 50%, while on federal lands, it is down. Natural gas production fell 30% on federal lands while over the same period it was up over 30% on private land. Thirty-six percent of our oil production was on federal lands in 2010. This has declined to 23%. Since 2009, oil production on private lands is up over 60%. The permit process has been lengthened by more than a third.
What would the Obama economy look like without the shale boom that he did absolutely nothing to bring about, and indeed has merely and only reluctantly allowed to proceed at an even slower pace than it could have? I shudder to think.
And in other related and excellent news, Mexico might finally be ready to release the prohibitive death grip that its state oil company Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) has held over the oil-and-gas sector for more than seventy years and the ongoing production decline under which it has been struggling:
The declining trend of Mexico’s crude oil production could be reversed as the country is taking drastic reforms and embracing foreign investment, the statistical arm of the U.S. Department of Energy said Tuesday.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said in a report that Mexico pumped an average of 2.9 barrels of oil per day last year, continuing the decline from its peak of 3.85 million barrels of oil per day in 2004.
But the trend might be reversed as the country has ratified sweeping reforms to its energy sector, ending the 75-year monopoly that state-owned Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, has had on the country’s energy resources.