Another reader who does international consulting in the field writes:
Last week, rig count in the US stood at 1170. But that is a bit misleading. 78.3% of those rigs were drilling for Natural Gas. So only 241 rigs, land, offshore, deepwater included, were looking for oil. An additional 119 rigs (out of 299) were looking for oil in Canada.
By contrast, there were 1020 rigs international. Of these 792 were drilling for oil.
Add to this the nature of the fields in question. For example, Saudi Arabia only has 5 major fields that produce 90% of it's oil. No new fields have been discovered since the 1970s. Surprising since Saudi Arabia has 25% of the world's proven oil reserves.
From the King of Peak Oil, Matt Simmons:
Saudi Arabia has over 300 recognized reservoirs but 90% of its oil comes from the five super giant fields discovered between 1940 and 1965. Since the 1970s there haven't been new discoveries of giant fields. The most significant of the oil fields is Ghawar. Found in 1948, the 300-mile-long sliver near the Persian Gulf is the world's largest oil field and accounts for 55%-60% of all Saudi oil produced. Ghawar's current proven reserves are 12% of the world's total. The field produces 5 mbd, which is 6.25% of the world's oil production. According to Simmons, Ghawar's northern regions are almost depleted. Two other giant fields, Abqaiq and Berri, also seem to have peaked in the 1970s.
An example of this is that in the last year I have records for, Saudi's production declined 8%. The major problem is reservoir depletion versus reservoir acquisition. According to most sources, including Chevron and Exxon, we are producing, on average, 2 barrels of oil for every barrel we find. That is an obvious problem.
As far as technology, the technology pretty much is the same here as it is in the ME and the North Sea and AsiaPac. These are global companies, particularly the technological leaders like BP, XOM, Shell, etc and they don't just put that tech to work in the States. Many times and many cases, the US is actually behind other areas.
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