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Page added on November 19, 2018

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Number of wells producing oil, gas declines

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The number of wells producing crude oil and natural gas in the United States declined in 2017, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

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Oil and gas producing wells dropped from a peak of 1,039,000 in 2014 down to 991,000 in 2017. The decline can be primarily attributed to advances in technology and drilling techniques, EIA stated in its new report, U.S. Oil and Natural Gas Wells by Production Rate.

Nonhorizontal wells, which include vertical wells, have decreased from 940,000 in 2014 to 864,000 in 2017. Horizontal wells are less common, but they are growing as a share of the total. Specifically, there were 99,000 horizontal wells drilled in 2014 – about 10 percent of the total. In 2017, there were 127,000 horizontal wells – which accounted for 13 percent of total wells drilled. Horizontal wells are more expensive to drill than vertical wells but produce greater volumes. About 30 percent of horizontal wells produced at least 100 barrels per day (b/d) of crude oil in 2017 compared to only 1 percent of vertical wells.

However, it should be noted that while there were fewer wells in 2017, U.S. oil production grew from 8.7 million b/d in 2014 to 9.3 million b/d in 2017. Also, U.S. natural gas gross withdrawals increased from about 78.7 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) to 83.4 Bcf/d. Since 2017, crude oil and natural gas production has continued to grow. In August 2018, production measured 11.3 million b/d and 85.2 Bcf/d.


11 Comments on "Number of wells producing oil, gas declines"

  1. rockman on Mon, 19th Nov 2018 2:46 pm 

    “The decline can be primarily attributed to advances in technology and drilling techniques, EIA stated in its new report…” The stats they provide following that statement refutes the same statement. Most of the decline in well count is due to the plugging of wells as they reach their economic limit as a result of depletion.

  2. Peaky Oil Blinders on Mon, 19th Nov 2018 3:16 pm 

    I feel depleted after reading this article.

  3. print baby print on Tue, 20th Nov 2018 1:23 am 

    Wait Rockman is there such a thing as a depletion, I thought only doomers can mention that word

  4. Cloggie on Tue, 20th Nov 2018 12:26 pm 

    Russia coming to the rescue of the US:

    “Russian LNG Finds Customers in the US”

  5. George on Tue, 20th Nov 2018 4:25 pm 

    Every other week it’s a different story with these EIA jerkoffs.

  6. I AM THE MOB on Tue, 20th Nov 2018 4:41 pm 

    Doomie Preppers — Are you doubling down on your pumpkin planting? Are you viciously pulling those weeds getting locked and loaded for the Big Adventure?


  7. makati1 on Tue, 20th Nov 2018 5:19 pm 

    George, they are just leeches on the taxpayer, writing bullshit for a paycheck. A waste of time to read. Mostly lies.

    Anyone invested in the energy market casino should get out now and buy gold. When the crash comes, they will be wiping their butts with those stock certificates. Dollars will not be worth much more.

  8. Pete Bauer on Tue, 20th Nov 2018 5:45 pm 

    Interesting facts, the vertical wells are the ones producing more Oil at lesser prices, and if its count has gone down by 9%, then the conventional oil is running out. Most of the wells are actually stripper wells where most the oil is already extracted and they are just oozing with little bit of leftover oil.

    The horizontal wells have 12% share in the well count and because they are new, they are producing so much oil. Still their depletion rate is very high and the oil companies have to keep drilling forever to maintain the rate.

    As more people in the World are buying cars and the existing car owners are jumping to crossovers, the oil consumption in the transport sector will continue to increase forever. The fact that Chinese purchased 120,000 plugin vehicles in 2018-10 is not going to stop the increase in oil consumption since the # of petro-mobiles sold are in millions every month.

  9. Baptized on Wed, 21st Nov 2018 12:18 pm 

    Rockman and Pete I like your statements. Plus nice to not have mudslinging.

  10. Anonymous on Wed, 21st Nov 2018 8:04 pm 

    Presumably these are stripper wells going out of production at end of life. Really two effects driving this. Obviously prices and the price outlook have worsened since 2014 so borderline wells are more likely to be retired now. I think the bigger driver though is just the change from vertical wells (smaller overall production) to horizontal wells. It just takes less total wells to deliver same volume if using horizontal wells. This is especially dramatic with shale gas wells.

    My suspicion is that the horizontal versus vertical factor is the more important driver than price. It’s just a much lower well density.

  11. Mark Ziegler on Sat, 24th Nov 2018 7:49 am 

    Converting used fracking wells to Geothermal.

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