The mainstream media keeps churning out good news stories about the booming shale oil and gas industry in the United States. Apparently, the fracking industry is going to lead to America becoming the next Saudi Arabia with a hundred years of oil and natural gas. It will provide cheap energy supplies that will boost U.S. Industry and give a major boost to consumers and help the so-called economic recovery.
Yet all of the over inflated claims for shale oil and gas are based upon a fantasy. The geological evidence (See the exhaustive studies by University of Texas and by the geologist David Hughes for the Post Carbon Institute in 2014) shows quite clearly that shale gas and tight oil production is likely to peak in the next 5 years.
Tad Patzek, head of the University of Texas at Austin’s department of petroleum and geosystems engineering, has commented that companies are trying to extract shale oil and gas as fast as possible. The danger of this is that, “we’re setting ourselves up for a major fiasco”. He notes that after production peaks in 2020 “there’s going to be a pretty fast decline on the other side” and ”that’s when there’s going to be a rude awakening for the United States.” He notes rather ominously that, “it cannot be good for the US economy.”
Arthur Berman an independent geologist claims that that the U.S. has only 2 years worth of tight oil production left given current levels of consumption. He says that the US has about 10 billion barrels of proven plus proven undeveloped reserves left yet it is consuming 5.5. billion barrels of oil per year. On top of this was the 96% downgrade in shale oil reserves in the Monterey play in California last year by the EIA which was meant to have the largest shale oil reserves in the US.