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IHS CERAWeek 2014 Tight Oil Strategy Session: Tight Oil New Frontiers and Beyond

05 February 2014 Aaron Brady

It is clear the North American tight oil revolution is reshaping the global energy paradigm and will have an increasing impact in the coming decade. U.S. tight oil production from proven plays, primarily the Eagle Ford, Bakken and Permian Basin plays, is projected to reach 4.75-5 million barrels per day by 2020. Recoverable resources could well exceed 40 billion barrels. However, recent reports on decline rates and recovery factors in tight oil plays ask how sustainable is this "revolution", and can tight oil go global? Decline rates from peak production in unconventional oil plays can range between 50 and 70 percent. Current tight oil recovery rates of 3-5 percent present economic challenges but also present upside potential for improvement. For contrast, the average recovery rate for conventional oil is 34 percent.

On Tuesday, March 4 in Houston at IHS Energy CERAWeek 2014, IHS will host a strategy session, Tight Oil New Frontiers: North America and Beyond. Industry experts will discuss:

  • What steps are North America operators taking to boost recovery factors and offset steep initial declines to ensure a play's economic viability?
  • What factors need to converge to kick off global unconventional oil activity and when might it begin in earnest?
  • In the unconventional playing field, it is clear the rest of the world is not North America. What are the challenges that must be overcome for global tight oil to impact crude oil supply?

Our distinguished participants include Guardie Banister, President & CEO, Aera Energy LLC; Robert Ryan, Vice-President of Global Exploration, Chevron Upstream; Tim Probert, President Strategy and Corporate Development, Halliburton and Pete Stark, Vice President and Advisor, IHS.

Mr. Banister will discuss his experiences with the Monterey Shale, the North American tight oil play that remains a mystery wrapped in an enigma. The US Energy Information Administration projects the formation could have 15 billion barrels of recoverable oil but challenges in breaking the production code for the lithologically and tectonically complex Monterey, up to 3,000 feet thick in many places, must still be overcome.

It is clear the rest of the world is not North America, where private lease holders boosted activity on their land; a nice regulatory climate exists in most states; and expertise, equipment and infrastructure are all readily available. Internationally the geology is certainly there for tight oil but governments own the minerals and must be supportive of unconventional activity; regulations vary widely from country to country; the expertise and equipment must be brought in and the scale required will be huge; in many countries, infrastructure is in place but not everywhere. These differences from North America present numerous challenges so the key questions for international tight oil are where and when. Mr. Ryan will provide his view on tight oil plays globally from Chevron's perspective, and Mr. Probert will discuss these issues of scale from the service company view. Pete Stark will provide an IHS perspective and Stephen Trammel from IHS will lead the discussions.

Oil industry leaders, company strategists and governments will need to manage a range of below and above ground issues to sustain the new production in North America and for successful tight oil development outside of North America. The CERAWeek Tight Oil New Frontiers: North America and Beyond strategy session will provide key insights on this new energy paradigm.

Please watch this site for a follow up posting after the session is completed.

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