US shale feedstock processing Part 1

The global oil market had grown comfortable with the idea of the US as the world’s largest oil market and the largest crude importer. US crude production had peaked in the 1980s, and it had been falling gently, and apparently inexorably, for over 30 years. US crude imports of 3.2 million bpd in 1985 rose to surpass the 10 million bpd mark in 2003, and most believed that US import requirements would continue to grow. Since then, many things have changed. Oil prices remained high, and a price shock hit the market in 2008. The US economy, already faltering, toppled into a long lasting recession. US oil demand fell by 2.3 million bpd between 2005 and 2012, before rising by 0.4 million bpd in 2013. But a bright spot emerged in the upstream sector: the ‘shale boom’. Production from the Eagle Ford shale play in Texas and the Bakken shale play in North Dakota are causing a huge resurgence in US oil production. Geologists had known for many years about deep rock formations rich in oil and gas. The Bakken formation is part of the larger Williston Basin, which underlies parts of the US states North Dakota and Montana, as well as parts of Canada’s Saskatchewan and Manitoba provinces. The Eagle Ford formation underlies much of southern and eastern Texas, and it extends into Mexico as well. Recent commercial successes in these shale plays have been made possible because of advances in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or ‘fracking’. The shale oils also are known as ‘tight oil’, in part to avoid confusion with oil shale, which is shale containing kerogen. Oil shale requires its own type of mining, retorting and processing, and it is not fully commercialised.

via US shale feedstock processing Part 1.

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