The booming Eagle Ford and the surging Cline Shale in west Texas will be churning out a million barrels of crude oil per day in 2014, but prominent Texas oil economist Karr Ingham says the success of the shale plays and other developments in the petroleum industry are likely to slow the explosive growth that we've seen in the shale fields over the past two years, 1200 WOAI news reports.
"Flattening out at a really high level, which is where we are now, is not a terrible outcome, and that's probably what we can look for in 2014," Ingham told 1200 WOAI news.
He says the success of the fracking revolution, combined with indications that Iran and Iraq are about to raise production, will be behind the leveling out of production, Ingham said. He says some fracking wells require sustainably high crude oil prices, and he says the expected price of crude on the world markets may not be as high as we saw in 2012 and 2013.
"With every five bucks in crude oil prices that you lose, you're pricing some projects out of the market, just because they are very expensive to drill," he said.
The Texas Petro Index, which records producing and exploration wells, hit its highest level in history in 2013, as Texas alone turned out $110 billion in oil and gas production last year.
Ingham says the outlook for fracking remains very bright, with engineers finding recoverable oil and gas in shale plays in places where it has never been thought that oil existed. He says he just talked with investors in Poland who are bullish about fracking there.
The Eagle Ford and Cline Shale combined will produce more oil than almost every OPEC country in 2014, and Ingham says the result for consumers will be universally positive.
"The outlook for consumers in terms of refined products, gasoline in particular, looks very good for 2014," he said.