The last decade has seen a huge resurgence in the US oil and energy economy, and a major part of that resurgence is due to fracking. While previous oil extraction methods left the US with dwindling reserves and high energy costs, fracking has allowed oil prospectors to return to previously exhausted wells and see a whole new yield of usable crude. Likewise, advances in extraction have us tapping reserves that are deeper or farther offshore than before. But not everyone expects the boom to last.
Oil expert David Stewart of Bowling Green KY begs to differ.Some experts, including US energy officials, have said that fracking has created only a temporary bump in production. They predict that the current boom will end by the mid 2020’s, putting the United States back on the list of oil-hungry nations and undermining a period of financial prosperity thanks, in part, to cheaper energy.
David Stewart is a Kentucky-based oil and natural gas expert who acts as a consultant to many petroleum businesses. In that role, his job is not only to advise on the best current methods, but also to understand emerging technologies that will change the landscape—soon. His value comes from giving extremely accurate predictions that help inform prospecting and production strategy and ultimately keep energy companies profitable. And he does not believe that the US fracking boom is going to end any time soon.
“It’s not just a matter of energy leaders being optimistic,” David Stewart said. “These are executives whose entire lives are staked on understanding the future of their industry and investing in the wells and tech that will succeed. And among this group of rugged realists, we just don’t see fracking running dry in the next 10 years. Not even close.”
Some would disagree with David Stewart, pointing to the short life of fracking wells and their quick decline rate. Many fracking wells are essentially sifting through the leftovers of previous drilling and can run dry in as little as 8 years.
But David Stewart points out that current fracking rates are no indicator of future ones.
“Just ten years ago, the reserves we’re tapping today were considered to be completely exhausted,” Stewart said. “Fracking is a new technology and it’s continuing to evolve quickly. The same engineers who came up with fracking in the first place are looking at its results and asking, how can we improve this?”
The result, Steward says, is that fracking will improve along all metrics—slower decline, lower costs, and longer yield time.
“Ultimately, not only will tomorrow’s fracking operations produce more than today, but we can go back and re-frack reserves that are once against considered ‘dry.’ We have decades of boom left.”