Exxon to Heavily Invest in U.S. Shale With 16 New Drilling Projects
On Wednesday, March 4, Exxon Mobil Corp. announced an ambitious long-term plan to invest heavily in the shale fields of Texas, North Dakota and Oklahoma as a means to spur revival throughout the oil and gas industry.
According to the Dallas Business Journal, Exxon, the world’s largest oil company, plans to start 16 new oil and gas projects throughout the next three years, regardless of how prices will fluctuate during this time.
Perhaps most significant is Exxon’s plan to more than double the amount of oil it pumps from shale fields throughout the United States. In his announcement, Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson said North American shale “is more resilient than some people think it is.”
By 2017, Exxon intends to grow its worldwide crude and natural gas production by 7.5%, Bloomberg reports, to 4.5 million barrels per day. Sending oil drilling equipment to U.S. shale fields plays a major role in this goal. In 2013, 22% of Exxon’s crude output came from domestic shale, a 15% growth from 2008. Throughout the entire oil and gas industry, there was a 15.4% growth in crude oil production from 2011 to 2012.
Renewed interest in domestic shale won’t just revive crude oil drill rigs, either. The Energy Information Administration has projected that shale-based natural gas production will grow to 13.6 trillion cubic feet by 2035, making up almost half of all natural gas produced in the country. U.S. shale fields will help sustain hydraulic fracturing activity, as well; as many as 95% of new wells are hydraulically fractured.
Exxon’s decision marks a major vote of confidence in the industry’s ability to achieve long-term recovery and revival — a significant event that shows there’s still plenty of hope for U.S. crude oil and natural gas production.
“Our long-term capital allocation approach has not changed,” Tillerson said of his company’s three-year plan.
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