SOURCE: Nation of Change
DATE: March 5, 2019
SNIP: The U.S. exported a record 3.6 million barrels per day of oil in February. This oil is the result of the American fracking boom – and as a report from Oil Change International recently noted – its continued growth is undermining global efforts to limit climate change. The Energy Information Administration predicts U.S. oil production will increase again in 2019 to record levels, largely driven by fracking in the Permian shale in Texas and New Mexico.
And the U.S. is not alone in trying to maximize oil and gas production. Despite the financial failures of the U.S. fracking industry, international efforts to duplicate the American fracking story are ramping up across the globe.
As a major importer of oil and natural gas, it is no surprise that China is trying to exploit its own shale formations, which are rich with oil and gas. China is estimated to have the largest shale gas reserves of any country. However, China’s shale formations present different challenges than those in the U.S., including gas deposits at significantly greater depths.
The CEO of Saudi Arabian state oil company Aramco recently dismissed the idea that global demand for oil will decrease anytime soon and urged the oil industry to “push back on exaggerated theories like peak oil demand.”
But Saudi Aramco also is gearing up for a shopping spree of natural gas assets, including big investments in the U.S., and increasing gas production via fracking in its own shale fields. Aramco is deeply invested in keeping the world hungry for more oil and gas.
Besides Saudi Aramco, several other oil majors are now moving into fracking in a big way, with the constant goal of boosting oil and gas production.
BP abandoned its early attempts to produce oil and gas in the U.S. via fracking when it was forced to sell U.S. assets to pay for legal bills resulting from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil disaster. However, in 2018 BP spent $10.5 billion to buy the shale assets of BHP Billiton.
The oil giant also has a $12 billion investment in Oman, where fracking techniques and expertise learned in Texas – along with a favorable deal with the government of Oman – appear to be helping BP succeed.
Despite recent help from the Trump administration, efforts to frack the extensive Vaca Muerta shale basin in Argentina have been slow to take off since the oil and gas field’s discovery a decade ago, but Vista Oil & Gas just announced plans to begin fracking there.
Last year a moratorium on fracking was lifted for Australia’s Northern Territory and in January plans were announced to begin fracking for gas.
Fracking efforts in the U.K. have resulted in breached environmental permits, suspected earthquakes, and widespread opposition.