The EIA recently released its proven developed reserve estimates for the end of 2018 and America has at its fingertips 47.1 billion barrels of oil and condensate. Based on current domestic production levels that is a reserve to production (R/P) ratio of a little over ten years. On an annual consumption basis (18.49MM bbls. per day; EIA) America has a reserve to consumption ratio that implies we have less than seven years of proven oil reserves left.
"Technically" recoverable oil reserve (TRR) estimates made by the United States Geological Survey, or the Energy Information Agency, are all theoretical. Be definition those imaginary reserves have a very low probability of ever being found and would not be economic to produce at current oil prices if they were found. Most of these hypothetical reserves are believed to be in our country's four primary unconventional shale oil basins. Those basins are being saturated with wells, so much so they are interfering with each other and causing a reduction in EUR. Well productivity has not improved since the second quarter of 2016. The SPE, finally, has acknowledged that decline rates are accelerating and that in turn has led Wood Mackenzie to suggest proven developed producing reserve assets in America's shale oil basins need to be adjusted downward 30% making R/P ratios even lower. Gas to oil ratios are increasing at an alarming rate and that is a definite precursor to depletion.
Total public and private long term debt held by unconventional shale oil companies in America is something in the order of $300 billion dollars. In other words, very concise words in fact, the US shale oil industry has NOT even paid for all the wells it has drilled the past decade. It is still heavily depended on outside capital for survival. Approximately 70-75% of all unconventional HZ wells drilled in the US right now do nothing more than replace annualized shale oil decline from the year before.
"The time has come to end the long debate over national energy policy in the United States and to put ourselves solidly on the road to energy independence. … This bill is only the beginning.”
Those were the words President Gerald Ford said on Dec. 22, 1975, as he signed into law the Energy Policy and Conservation Act, a ban on most U.S. oil exports...
What exactly is different today than 45 years ago? Only the illusion of shale oil abundance and the hope that lenders outside the oil industry will continue to fund its extraction, regardless of unprofitability.
Those are bad bets on America's long term energy security.
...to stay in America.