US shale oil has room to grow – ConocoPhillips economist

31 May 2012 22:44  [Source: ICIS news]

CLEVELAND (ICIS)--The extraction of oil from shale formations in the US still has room for improvement and production could rise in the future, the chief economist for ConocoPhillips said on Thursday.

Until recently, many expected that shale production techniques were limited to natural gas, because crude oil was too large, said Marianne Kah, chief economist for ConocoPhillips.

She made her comments during the 2012 NABE Industry Conference, held by the National Association for Business Economics.

Producers use a combination of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and horizontal drilling to extract the natural gas from shale formations.

However, producers can now extract light oils from shale formations, she said.

"This is the beginning of our understanding," Kah said. "We will learn how to optimise production and lower production costs."

She added, "This is still the early days for the oil side."

Potentially, US oil imports can fall from the current 43-45% to 10%, with a large amount of those future imports coming from Canada, Kah said. In fact, the US and Canada, combined, could become a net oil exporter.

By: Al Greenwood
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