Parece que el Shale ha venido para quedarse:
Some observers expect a second wave of technological innovation in shale oil production that will equal or surpass the first one, which was based on horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. Fueled by rapid advances in data analytics—aka big data—this new wave promises to usher in a second American oil renaissance: “Shale 2.0,” according to a May 2015 reportby Mark Mills, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, a free-market think tank.
Much of the new technological innovation in shale comes from a simple fact: practice makes perfect. Tapping hydrocarbons in “tight,” geologically complex formations means drilling lots and lots of wells—many more than in conventional oil fields. Drilling thousands of wells since the shale revolution began in 2006 has enabled producers—many of them relatively small and nimble—to apply lessons learned at a much higher rate than their counterparts in the conventional oil industry.
This “high iteration learning,” as Judson Jacobs, senior director for upstream analysis at energy research firm IHS, describes it, includes a shift to “walking rigs,” which can move from one location to another on a drilling pad, allowing for the simultaneous exploitation of multiple holes. Advances in drill bits, the blend of water, sand, and chemicals used to frack shale formations, and remote, real-time control of drilling and production equipment are all contributing to efficiency gains.
At the same time, producers have learned when to pause: more than half the cost of shale oil wells comes in the fracking phase, when it’s time to pump pressurized fluids underground to crack open the rock. This is known as well completion, and hundreds of wells in the U.S. are now completion-ready, awaiting a rise in oil prices that will make them economical to pump. Several oil company executives in recent weeks have said that once oil prices rebound to around $65 a barrel (the price was at $64.92 per barrel as of June 1), another wave of production will be unleashed.
This could help the U.S. to replace Saudi Arabia as the top swing producer—able to quickly ramp up (or down) production in response to price shifts. The real revolution on the horizon, however, is not in drilling equipment or practices: it’s in big data
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