"To make sense of the shale gale, we must celebrate what industry has accomplished ... But when you look more closely, comparing North Dakota with Kuwait is ludicrous. Kuwait claims about 100 billion barrels of reserves; North Dakota may have 10 billion, if that. An average Kuwaiti well produces 1,600 barrels a day, 10 times the output of a typical Dakota well. Kuwait has produced 2 million barrels a day for decades, and will do so for decades to come. North Dakota will be lucky to hit 1 million barrels a day by 2017, before its production tapers off ... Having exhausted most of our best petroleum reservoirs, we’ve moved to much worse ones. Thanks to Yankee ingenuity we’ll drill more than 15,000 shale wells this year. That’s the good news. The bad news is that shale formations are tighter than tombstones, and as a result all these wells have an abbreviated lifetime ... Today, for $5-10 million, you can drill and "frac" an excellent well that will initially produce 1,000 barrels, or 6 million cubic feet, a day. But typically that well will age rapidly. Many good wells, not to mention the dogs, will be exhausted within 15 years. The decline rate of a shale well is breathtaking, a Wile E. Coyote-like plunge from cliff top to oblivion. In the Bakken and Haynesville plays, production can fall 80 percent within 24 months. By the end of four years, your prize well is on its way to stripper-well status ... Throw 200 rigs at a virgin shale, and steep growth curves are a given. But stop drilling new wells, even for a month, and the growth abruptly ends. Stop drilling for year, production will fall 30 to 40 percent. The higher production rises in any given shale play, the more new wells are needed to “feed the tiger,” as insiders put it ... Ten percent of the Lower 48 has been leased by oil companies. That’s more acreage than we plant in corn and wheat. Oil and gas extraction is now the dominant land use on the continent." 

Zum Artikel von Randy Udall, erschienen im CSMonitor (22. Februar 2013) »