Oil is a major source of potential energy for U.S. shale gas producers, but a glut of supply has not created much new energy to offset declining production.
Energy experts say the glut has only helped to reduce production, and they expect it to continue to do so.
The industry has reported an annualized production decline of about 10% over the past five years, a figure that has not been in excess of 30%.
That means that while production may have been a bit lower in the past, there’s no doubt that the glut is hurting production.
Oil and natural gas prices are both currently below $70 a barrel, a level that makes production a lot less attractive for producers.
“Oil is the single largest single contributor to our energy supply, so a glut is really just another way of saying that we are in a period of extreme supply,” said John Muro, senior energy analyst at GasBuddy.com.
The industry’s current glut of supplies has been exacerbated by several factors, including a glut in drilling, production bottlenecks, and an increased supply of natural gas, according to Energy Information Administration data.
For now, shale gas is still the most abundant source of oil in the United States, according to The National Association of Realtors.
But the industry has been struggling to keep up with the demand for oil in recent years.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the U.K. shale boom has been especially disappointing, with production plunging from 5.6 million barrels per day in 2008 to about 2.5 million barrels a day by late 2013.
In the U and West, production has been on the decline, with the U of A’s shale boom now showing the lowest rate of production since 2009, according the National Energy Technology Laboratory.
It also means that shale producers have had to turn to unconventional sources of energy like coal and natural gasoline to keep prices from dropping too low.
Shale oil production in the U is estimated at about 4.3 million barrels of oil equivalent per day (bpd), according to the U, which is well below the 6.4 bpd production of the previous boom.
Some industry analysts have pointed out that there has been a significant increase in natural gas production from fracking.
Natural gas is much cleaner than oil and it is cheaper than oil to process, so companies have started fracking in a bid to boost production, according The Wall Street Journal.
Fracking also has the added benefit of reducing demand for conventional energy, as natural gas tends to be less expensive than oil when it comes to refining and transporting.
Gas production in West Texas and Oklahoma is up about 10%, but production in Pennsylvania and Texas has fallen in recent months.
Production has been down across the U., though the downturn is still a bit worse than it was in 2008, according Energy Information Administration data.
And there is still plenty of oil to go around.
With the oil glut in place, the amount of oil that shale gas companies can extract from the ground has increased, but that increase has come at the expense of production, said Mark Perry, a research analyst at the Institute for Energy Research.
That is because a number of factors have contributed to the drop in production, Perry explained.
Lower drilling costs have helped oil and gas producers compete with more expensive alternatives like natural gas.
Other factors include falling prices for natural gas that have led to lower production.
New shale gas exploration has also resulted in lower drilling costs, which means that companies can now extract more of the gas in an area at the same time, Perry said.
Even with the glut, oil and natural geysers have been showing signs of life, Perry added.
At the same, the industry is still trying to get its feet under it and develop new techniques that will give it a shot at producing more oil.
One of the main reasons the industry can’t develop more oil is because of the cost of extracting it, according Perry.
Energy production from oil and other natural gas in the region has been in decline since at least 2000, when Shallow Gas Resources Inc. (SHRC) first drilled in the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania, according a statement from the company.
By 2010, production in Shane County, Pennsylvania, had fallen from nearly 9 million barrels per day to about 1.2 million barrels in 2015, according Oilprice.com data.