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Energy Stat of the Week by Pavel Molchanov

Energy Stat: Can the 2018 U.S. Well Productivity Surge be Repeated This Year?

April 15, 2019

Up until the last decade, U.S. oil and gas well productivity had been in a steady state of decline for over fifty years. The application of horizontal wells with multiple fractures now allows just one wellbore to access and drain oil and gas reservoirs that might have needed as many as 50 vertical wells to effectively drain in the past. As the use of horizontals has proliferated the U.S. oilfield, U.S. productivity per well has soared and turned the U.S. into the most economic (and largest) producer of oil in the world. Layer in drilling efficiency gains and, in just a few short years, the U.S. has morphed from the least economic oil and gas province with steadily falling production to the most profitable oil and gas region and the primary incremental supplier of the world’s oil and gas. Given this radical transformation, we believe the single most important question that will drive the oil markets over the next few years is “how much more can U.S. well productivities improve from here?” In these week’s “stat” we will try to answer that question.