Fracking insiders see no end to boom

“It’s amazing how much is out there, and we have very high confidence on most of these plays that they’re going to be very long lived,” said Robert Beck, who explores for Anadarko Petroleum Corp.

Most shale oil wells today start strong but taper off quickly compared to conventional wells, and some cease production in 7.5 to 8 years. But drilling technologies are evolving quickly to change that, said James King, vice president for unconventional multi-stage completions with Baker Hughes, an oilfield services company.

“There are a lot of bright minds working today to make the wells have higher rates of production, slower decline curves, better terminal production and at less cost,” King said. “In the long term I think there will be technological solutions to fast decline curves and short-life wells.”

The U.S. will set records for oil production this year, King said. ”I would expect it’s sustainable. The technology didn’t just happen, it wasn’t just switched on, it evolved over time, and we’ll have better technologies than we did before.”