The Market Has Already Moved Onto ‘Re-Fracking’

on July 07, 2015 at 4:52 PM

Oil frack somethingAs you well know, oil is so cheap you can light it on fire. If we strike a deal with Iran, it’s going to get even cheaper. If prices remain this low, we’ll be able to submerge Florida in no time.

That said, God isn’t making any more of this stuff. Or at least it’s taking a long time to put all of the ingredients into His Divine Easy-Bake Oven. Fracking has extended the timeline of our reckoning with “peak oil” but analysts guess we will hit peak Shale in 2020.

But, as Ian Malcolm might say: oil finds a way. From Bloomberg:

America’s tight-oil production is set to peak in 2020, based on U.S. forecasts, but a technique known as refracking could keep output booming for longer by increasing the yield from old wells.

If the word fracking has carved out a spot in the lexicon of Americans as the nation advances toward energy independence, then refracking, as roughnecks have begun calling it, could be next. And for an industry that has been hammered by the 50 percent drop in crude prices over the past year, the finding on the technique’s potential — at a fraction of the cost of the initial well — provides a much-needed sense of hope.

The risks abound — from inadvertently siphoning oil from an adjacent well to ruining a whole reservoir — and the sample size so far isn’t big enough to be conclusive, but oil giants like Marathon Oil Corp. and ConocoPhillips aren’t waiting to incorporate refracking into their shale operations.

Lawyers and environmentalists are always fighting the last war. Just as we’ve reached an appropriate level of awareness and concern to engage in a useful public debate about the risks and rewards of fracking, smart companies are already moving onto the next process. And they’re not waiting for the regulators to catch up.

[Also on Above the Law: The Crazy Narrow Ruling Regarding Oklahoma Earthquakes]

(Picture of something that totally doesn’t cause earthquakes, courtesy of Shutterstock)