Increased precision and efficiency of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing in oil and natural gas extraction is leading to an increase of oil and natural gas well productivity in many basins across the United States. 

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, many resource-producing basins are experience an increasing yield over time in either oil or natural gas. 

The March productivity report showed that five of the six U.S. shale plays tracked by the DPR have seen increases in oil and natural gas production per rig over the past few years. The Eagle Ford Shale is leading in increased production per rig (463 barrels per day, up from 453 the previous month) and the Marcellus Shale is leading in increased production of natural gas per rig (6,476 thousand cubic feet/day, up from 6,402 the previous month). 

Related: 4 Reasons You Should Expand into the Marcellus Shale

This trend of increased rig productivity is one factor helping to boost overall oil and natural gas production nationwide. The latest Annual Energy Outlook from the EIA forecasts that U.S. oil production will reach 9.6 million barrels per day in 2019, and natural gas production will increase by 56 percent through 2040.

Canadian company wants to resume production

Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. – an oilsands giant located in Edmonton – made a second application in late February to resume oil production on its leaking Cold Lake site before completion of the investigation into why four sites are leaking bitumen to the surface. 

Related: Guest Blog: Fracking Finally Gets a Good Rap

More than 11,000 barrels have leaked to the surface in the last 10 months, among the province’s largest spills. There is no way to stop the leaking, according to province officials. 

In its newest application, CNRL hopes to resume pumping high-pressure steam into the ground near a small lake with a leaking fissure in the bottom. The lake was drained and a berm constructed around the fissure to contain the bitumen as part of cleanup ordered by Alberta Environment. The cleanup is not yet complete. 

It’s not known when the investigation into the leaking will be complete. 

Related: 5 Newsworthy Facts About the Utica Shale

CNRL says it will adjust its high-pressure steam process and increase monitoring. The steaming would be outside the restricted zone. 

In January, a regulator turned down the company’s Dec. 17 application to restart oil production inside the restricted zone.

Oilfield services company donates to New Orleans university

Global oilfield services company Schlumberger, based in Houston, Texas, has donated $1.3 million in oil and gas exploration software to the University of New Orleans. 

The Times-Picayune reports that the money will be used to pay for a three-year license for the Petrel E&P software platform for UNO’s Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences.          

UNO professor and geophysicist Mostofa Sarwar said the software would help teach students how to study and interpret seismic data. 

New regulations for oilfield waste disposal being drafted

The North Dakota Department of Health is drafting regulations that will be used to track the generation, storage, transportation and disposal of Technically Enhanced Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material (TENORM). 

According to the North Dakota Division of Waste Management, there have been numerous incidents where oilfield waste was not handled properly – in one instance in McKenzie County, hundreds of oil filter socks were discovered on two trailers, leaking oil and chemicals into the soil. 

Currently the state relies on the individual companies to dispose of contaminated and radioactive waste properly on their own. The TENORM regulations will be released to the public in June for comment and correction.

Refinery runs to hit record high in 2014

With U.S. refineries expanding their capacity to process more domestic light oil in the coming years, the U.S. Energy Information Administration is predicting refinery crude inputs to reach 15.52 million barrels per day this year and 15.61 million barrels per day in 2015, passing the all-time high of 15.48 million barrels per day, which was hit in 2004. 

The surge in domestic production will cause U.S. crude imports to decline to 25 percent of total liquid fuels consumption, which would be the lowest level since 1971, according to the EIA.

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