Argonne National Laboratory

Upcoming Events

The Great US Shale Oil and Gas Scam – Part I

Argonne Engineering Professionals Seminar
Dave Raske (NE, Retiree)
September 18, 2013 12:00PM to 1:00PM
Building 208, Room A138
In 2012 the US consumed 14.9 million barrels of crude oil per day (Mbd); our own production was 6.5 Mbd and we imported 8.4 Mbd. The need to import the majority of our crude oil began in 1994 and peaked in 2005 when we imported 66% of our needs. Since then both the amount of US and imported crude decreased until 2008 when the US crude production hit bottom at 5.0 Mbd. Since then, US crude (and natural gas) production has significantly increased, primarily due to horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing (fracking) of underground shale rock deposits containing large quantities of trapped oil and gas (tight oil/shale gas).

The significant increase in US tight oil and shale gas production has led to claims that the US will soon be free of imported oil and gas, more jobs will be created, states with shale deposits will profit from taxes, the US will become an exporter of oil and gas, and a new golden age of economic growth is imminent.

The seminar examines these claims against published information and data for tight oil and shale gas wells produced by fracking. The data was analyzed to link well depletion rates to the need for drilling more and more wells just to maintain production (the Red Queen Effect). The results indicate that the claim of future oil independence is false. It also indicates that shale gas production may not be sufficient to accomplish the goals claimed by the energy and financial industries. (PART I) Similarly, the lofty claims of a golden age in economic growth and the other claims appear to be an elaborate scam. (PART II)