Cost of oil shale in the United States in 2014

World Media vengeance excite the public, disclosing the fact that in the US there was a "shale revolution".Based on what facts these statements may be relevant?There are, in particular, the idea that the cost of production of shale oil in the US in 2014 has decreased so much that the American industry for the extraction of "black gold", in principle, do not care what the current international price of this product.Whether it is legitimate?What are the factors affecting the cost of production of shale oil by American companies?

What is shale oil

first small theoretical digression to the subject matter.What is shale oil?The cost price of the product we are going to determine?

The fact that there are actually two types of oil available in the Russian language at the level of the layman common name - "slate".First - this is a product that, as well as one that is produced in the classical way, is contained in a special layer of the Earth's species.They are called "slates".But there is one product.Under the appropriate kind of oil can also be understood as such slates, also referred to as "flammable".They are, in fact, contains a product very similar properties to oil - shale oil.And it also means a certain technology is recovered and subjected to processing.

Thus, the term "oil shale" can be interpreted in three ways.Namely:

- as a synonym for "shale oil";

- the closest analogue of the traditional type of oil, but occur in other kinds of deposits;

- extracted from tar shale.

as the product on the basis of which it is possible to produce the fuel used, thus, the second and third.Before exploring the cost of production of shale oil, let us note that a number of experts is of the view that the costs associated with obtaining each of the two mentioned products can vary widely.Usually, oil obtained from oil shale more expensive.

Where lies shale oil?

Considering the factors affecting the cost of production of shale oil, we will learn the specifics of fields in which there are appropriate work.According to the reports of a number of analytical agencies, the United States - the world leader in reserves of natural resources, in question.The main oil fields of the category of oil shale, the Americans lie in the state of Texas, in the territories of the west coast and north-east of the country.Also significant reserves in the so-called "oil sands", which are located in Canada.

there are significant deposits of "shale" in many other countries around the world, including in Russia, as well as those countries that are not considered to be like today energy powers - Slovakia, Poland, Ukraine.Assessing the potential of extracting oil from shale is very uneven among experts.Largely due to the fact that the figures that allow for qualitative analyst is not always transparent, forecasts from various line agencies, reflecting, in particular, the amount of reserves at the fields may be inaccurate or repeatedly revised.

Indicators cost

To find out what may be the estimated cost of oil shale in the United States, we turn to a number of expert sources.Published information on relevant studies conducted in different years, gives us a very ambiguous data.Why is that?Is it true that the cost of production of shale oil in the US is directly dependent on the subtype of the product (above, we have identified two main)?Based on information in a number of sources, it is.

In 2012, Time magazine published the following data.They are, however, concern the global trends.However, an idea of ​​what might be the cost of production of shale oil in the United States, this information can give us.

According to expert estimates, based on which Time magazine published figures, mining 1 barrel of oil from oil shale in 2012 amounted to about $ 100.In turn, the index for oil, which lies between the layers, no less, and less than half - 50 dollars.Thus, voiced by us at the beginning of the article the idea that the cost of oil shale in the United States and in other countries depends on the subtype of the product is confirmed, if we take the data for the year 2012.

Oil in the US and in the world

Compared noted figure in the same year with those that reflect the costs of production of this type of minerals in Russia, the difference, even in the case of the cheaper product, it will be evident."Classical" oil extracted in Russia costs about $ 15.And in Saudi Arabia, by the way, and that is cheaper - about 8. However, over all these figures and experts' opinions diverge.Therefore, it is only approximate guidelines.

What are the more recent data, for the current year?Increased or vice versa, has decreased the estimated production cost of oil shale in the United States?2014 - the year of the fall in world prices for "black gold".Is there any relationship between the pace of shale oil and this market trend?

opinions of experts on this subject is incredibly different.First of all, very different methodology for calculating cost.The criteria that causes the greatest debate - extraction tax.

With or without taxes?

Some economists count the cost of oil shale in the United States, focusing on the fact that its production is subject to minimum tax.However, with regard to a similar product produced by traditional, fee collection is still necessary.Benefits is precisely in relation to shale oil.In Russia, for example, as well as in many other countries, the export of "black gold" appropriate fee above.

If indicators of taxes to the United States and other countries were comparable, then, even if we take to the figures of 2012, according to experts, the American oil would have a very unattractive costs.Now the product slate from the United States, due to tax benefits can really be, analysts say, the cost in the region of $ 50 or less.

In turn, there is a view that the appropriate type of charges in the US treasury - a criterion that is not significant in terms of calculations of costs of oil production as shale product produced in the US, mainly focused on the domestic market.And because American taxpayers themselves "allow" themselves cheap gasoline.

trend to cheaper?

Among experts there is a thesis that over the years the cost of shale oil in the US falls.The basis of the argument - improving adaptability of production.Experts' opinions on this matter are also divided.There are estimates that a barrel of shale oil is now costing Americans about $ 48 - and it is really lower than the world average, analysts recorded in 2012.But adjusted for inflation - in principle, it is about reducing the cost of production testifying.Unless, of course, agree that the figure for the United States in 2012 was the same as the average in the world (after all, the Americans - the undisputed leader of the global market).Again, if we take into consideration the oil extracted from the subsoil, instead of through the shale processing.

profitability of production and the price of oil

How do the cost of oil shale in the United States, other countries and the international price of "black gold"?Experts' opinions and this time is very dissimilar.But it is important to study them to find their way in the factors affecting the cost of shale oil.2014 also very ambiguous in terms of oil prices.Now they have dropped significantly.Will growth - just no one can say.

analysts OPEC, in particular, believe that if world oil prices for a long time will remain below $ 90 per barrel, the work about half the American "oil shale" is unprofitable corporations.In turn, the IHS experts believe that the business of oil will maintain appropriate even if world prices fall to $ 57 a barrel.A compromise in the evaluation of offers to the International Energy Agency.According to experts of this structure, the production of shale oil in the US will be quite profitable if world prices do not fall below $ 80 per barrel.Analysts at Citigroup, in turn, believe that to maintain the "slate" industry in the United States will be sufficient rate of 75 dollars.

There is an interesting version: if the world oil prices will decline, the US corporations, producing "black gold" would, anyway, have to upgrade the technological base in order to cut costs.Experts who are close to this view believe that the "slate" sector has a great potential in this regard.Existing technologies, they suggest, is largely experimental and in a number of aspects of efficiency are inferior even to those that are used in oil production in the traditional way.Over time, analysts say, the Americans will increase the manufacturability.Due to this the cost of oil shale in the United States may be affected.According to the agency Accenture, the relevant costs may fall by 40%.

Barrel should grow

Anyway, among the experts held view that even if the cost of shale oil is around US $ 50, its production will remain, anyway, profitable for US companies.But on one condition - while oil prices around current for the beginning of summer 2014 - about $ 110 per barrel.Only then they will not have to think about how to reduce the cost of shale oil.$ 80, however - the current price of "black gold".That is, if you adhere to this point of view, is now US firms on the verge of profitability.On mass bankruptcies of firms is, judging by the background information in the media, it still is not.

Factors cost

Does it matter, in any circumstances produce shale oil?Cost of what factors determined based on the content of the production processes in the production of "black gold"?

Among significant in terms of costs of circumstances - the life of the wells.The fact that shale oil is extracted via a completely different technology in comparison with the development of traditional fields.Typically, testing of a single well is several times faster.And because the equipment is installed for the production of shale oil, soon after the development of a local resource has to either write off due to wear, or to move to other facilities.Naturally, this may be accompanied by considerable cost.

Another factor - the depth of the oil shale.As well as access to fresh water nearby, which is engaged in the extraction of "black gold" with the use of appropriate technologies.Depending on the depth of resources, costs can vary significantly.

following significant factor - the adequacy of estimates of shale reserves.It may be that the investments made on the basis of optimistic forecasts do not have time to pay off in view of the fact that oil simply end at a specific field.There is an interesting precedent - in the Los Angeles Times of publication, which says that one of the oil fields in California's forward-looking statements and actual split 25 times.

Another factor - the presence in the neighborhood with similar deposits of shale gas deposits.The fact that, according to some experts, the structure of the wells may involve profitability, will be produced only if both types of fuel.

Prospects "shale revolution"

However, regardless of what the numbers reflect the cost of oil shale in the United States, 2013 and 2014 mark an uncontrollable rise in American production of this mineral through alternative sources.

According to forecasts by various experts and agencies in the coming years performance will only grow.For example, the Energy Information Administration (one of the branch offices in the US), believes that in 2019 the production of shale oil in the US will reach 9.5 million barrels a day (now - about 3 million).

Among the factors that may prevent corporations from the United States to develop - already mentioned by us above trend is the relatively small share of alternative fields.If ordinary deposits can be developed for many years, the standard rate for shale - 3-5 years.During this time the oil resource to the wellbore can be used up to 90% or more.

forecasts themselves, even the American experts regarding the prospects for the development of "shale" are very different.A simple example.What is the Energy Information Administration predicts that one of the largest fields in the United States - Bakken - in 2040 shale oil will be about 1 million barrels a day.At the same time, according to the assessment of sectoral Institute Post Carbon, figure for Bakken will not exceed 73 thousand. Barrels.The difference in the forecasts - more than tenfold.There are discrepancies between the estimates of these two structures also in relation to certain reserves of shale oil in California.By the way, in some cases, the Energy Information Administration substantially revises its forecasts for deposits.In one case, the score was reduced by 96%.However, as noted by some experts, investors in deciding to invest in the industry, it can be guided to the first forecast.

However, experts urged not to jump to conclusions and forecasts.It is necessary to observe how they will develop the best technology to ensure a more efficient and, most importantly, a more environmentally friendly production of the product.The most important factor in the development of American industry in the development of alternative fields of "black gold" will also world oil prices.