After 10 years of production, shale gas in the United States cannot be considered commercially viable. That’s the report from scientists meeting this past Monday in Denver, CO for the Geological Society of America. According to a report in Science News, the scientists report that while the use of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling for "tight oil" is an important contributor to U.S. energy supply, it is not going to result in long-term sustainable production or allow the U.S. to become a net oil exporter.
Two recent studies – one of the global patterns of fossil-fuel production in the past decade, and the other of oil production patterns from the Bakken Field – show that “despite a tripling of prices and of expenditures for oil exploration and development, the production of nearly all countries has been stagnant at best and more commonly is declining.
Drilling rates are sufficient to offset this decline – for now. But eventually the plays will play out, and production decline set in, likely before the end of this decade. J. David Hughes, president of the Canadian firm Global Sustainability Research Inc, puts it into perspective: “Tight oil is an important contributor to the U.S. energy supply, but its long-term sustainability is questionable. It should be not be viewed as a panacea for business as usual in future U.S. energy security planning.”