This Friday OPEC meets in Vienna. The elephant in the room is the very visible impact of America’s shale fields on world oil markets. The technologies that have unleashed U.S. shale hydrocarbons have resulted in the fastest growth in oil production in a century.
The spectacular emergence of an industry that drills in shale formations to produce hydrocarbons is generating massive quantities of untapped data. The $600 billion in U.S. shale infrastructure investments and the nearly 2,000 million well-feet drilled has produced hundreds of petabytes of relevant data.
The shale industry is unlike any other conventional hydrocarbon or alternative energy sector in that it shares a growth trajectory far more similar to that of Silicon Valley’s tech firms.
Just before Earth Day 2011 when oil was selling for $120 a barrel, former Saudi oil minister Sheikh Yamani put out the idea that oil prices could imminently reach $200 to $300 per barrel. He was referring to the implications of unrest in the Middle East in the wake of the then recent Tunisian…
The United States may be the only major oil-producing nation where the domestic politics of petroleum production appear almost entirely divorced from its international interests.
What if the world never again sees sustained prices for oil over $100 per barrel? What if—absent exogenous black-swan events like major wars—oil never sells for much more than $50 per barrel for decades into the future? Who wins? Who loses?