Seeking Alpha – assigning estimated barrels of oil to various basins and shale oil plays plus including an estimate of yet to be discovered shale oil, I came to an estimate of oil in place. Oil in place in the continental US is from about 3 trillion to 5 trillion barrels of oil not including the 4.5 trillion barrels of oil shale.
1.53 trillion barrels Piceance Basin of Colorado (USGS, June 2011 oil shale)
1.44 trillion barrels Green River formation (USGS, June 2011 oil shale)
1.32 trillion barrels for the Uinta Basin of Utah and Colorado. (USGS, June 2011 oil shale)
260-500 billion barrels Monterey Formation (tight oil)
271-503 billion barrels Bakken Formation (tight oil)
Aggressive use of new fracking technology and combined with fire flooding and water flooding could enable 20-30% recovery rates. Large amounts of the Oil shale is likely recoverable with fire flooding. So 6.5 trillion to 9.5 trillion barrels of oil, with 20-30% recovery rates is 1.3 to 2.8 trillion barrels of oil. Oil Shale like in the Green River Formation cannot be recovered with horizontal drilling. It will require fire flooding or some other likely insitu method.
The three units of the Green River Formation assessed here, in ascending order, are the Tipton Shale Member, the Wilkins Peak Member, and the LaClede Bed of the Laney Member (fig. 2). Note that the boundaries of the assessment units, particularly those for LaClede Bed and Wilkins Peak assessment units vary stratigraphically across the basin. Total in-place resources are estimated at 1.44 trillion barrels of oil divided among the three assessed units as follows: (1) Tipton Shale Member, 362,816 million barrels of oil (MMBO); (2) Wilkins Peak Member, 704,991 MMBO; and (3) LaClede Bed of the Laney Member, 377,184 MMBO.
This result compares with in-place resource estimates of 1.53 trillion barrels for the Piceance Basin of Colorado and of 1.32 trillion barrels for the Uinta Basin of Utah and Colorado.
North Dakota’s Bakken has estimates of 271 and 503 billion barrels of oil with an average of 413 billion barrels of oil. This does not include other oil formations in North Dakota like Spearfish and others.
The Department of Petroleum has an estimate that America’s total oil shale resources could exceed
6 trillion barrels of oil equivalent. Previously there was the belief that the the formations that were too thin (like the Bakken, Eagle Ford and Monterey) could not be developed but those are now rapidly heading to 1 million barrels of oil per day for the Bakken, 420,000 barrels of oil per day for Eagle Ford.
The US could be able to produce at least 150 billion barrels of oil (5% of oil in place) to maybe 1.0 trillion barrels (20% of oil in place) of oil if the majority of these plays can be water flooded and CO2 injected as in the Canadian Bakken.
* 5% for the low estimate of 3 trillion barrels is 150 billion barrels
* 20% of the high estimate 5 trillion barrels figuring they could do some water flood and CO2 tertiary treatment to a large part of this land.
For this oil to be recovered, it will require that the oil price stays above $70 a barrel so the economics are in place to fully develop these areas.
Going all in on the “Drill baby drill” approach and using fire flooding, water flooding and other types of drilling innovation will drive down the cost of oil recovery while increasing the speed and expanding the amount of oil that is recoverable.
Crescent Point – Two years of tests at an initial pilot project in the Canadian Bakken — and more recent results from a second test — show that injecting water into formations being tapped by nearby horizontal wells with multiple fracture stimulations can help boost recovery from about 10 per cent to 30 per cent of oil in place.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
Known for identifying cutting edge technologies, he is currently a Co-Founder of a startup and fundraiser for high potential early-stage companies. He is the Head of Research for Allocations for deep technology investments and an Angel Investor at Space Angels.
A frequent speaker at corporations, he has been a TEDx speaker, a Singularity University speaker and guest at numerous interviews for radio and podcasts. He is open to public speaking and advising engagements.