The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently released a report that offered estimates of global supplies of oil and gas contained in underground shale formations.
According to the department's analysts, there are at least 345 billion barrels of technically recoverable oil in shale deposits spread across dozens of countries. At today's consumption levels, this supply would meet global demand for up to a decade.
Of course, the existence of these resources does not guarantee that they can be successfully developed. Edward Morse, head of commodities research at Citigroup, told CNBC that he believes other nations may struggle to develop their own shale reserves in a cost-effective manner.
"Looking at shale resources has typically been understated by outside market participants because the geology is new and the technology is growing rapidly," Morse said, adding that many of the factors that supported rapid development of shale resources in the United States are simply not present in other countries.
One example is the U.S. system of private property rights. In this country, landowners have rights to the oil and gas resources under their properties. Morse called this situation "truly unique to the United States" and said it has played a substantial role in encouraging exploration and development.
Implementation of advanced production equipment critical for producers
The DOE's updated estimates lend support to a previous forecast released by the International Energy Agency, which indicated that "current non-conventional technologies, as they spread and get both perfected and mainstreamed, could lead to a wholesale reassessment of global reserves."
As this transformative wave of technology continues to redefine what constitutes "recoverable" oil, it will be critical for producers to put the right production equipment in place to get the most out of their territories. The hydraulic jet pump has become known as one of the most useful solutions because of its simplicity and versatility.
A jet pump can be successfully deployed at any currently producing or newly completed well, even at sites where imperfections in the well casing would limit the effectiveness of other artificial lift solutions. The unit's intuitive design allows it to be inserted into straight, horizontal or deviated wells and significantly improve recovery rates.
Retrieval for optimization or repair can be quickly performed by reverse circulation of fluid. Furthermore, with no downhole moving parts, the jet pump's maintenance needs are minimal, which translates into less down time and a more efficient pumping operation.