North American oil production could reach 22.5 million bpd by 2035

September 15, 2011

With the right mix of regulatory reform and technical advancement, the combined production of oil from conventional, unconventional and offshore oil could reach 22.5 million barrels per day, according to a report prepared for the Department of Energy from National Petroleum Council (pdf of the report here).  Given that 22.5m bpd is the current US daily usage, the NPC does not believe oil shale or oil sands will be enough to wean the US from non-North American imports.

However, increased use and consumption of the vast natural gas deposits in the US alone could make up the much of the difference.  The NPC report demonstrates that North American supplies could meet as much as an 85% increase over current demand:

For that to happen, regulatory reform cannot be limited to enabling the extraction industries.  For example, the sort of Open Fuel regulatory mandate championed by Bob Zubrin would be necessary to pave the way for other liquid fuels to fill the gap.   Finally, with advances in clean coal and coal-to-liquid technologies, the potential for energy independence is possibly within reach within 25 to 35 years, but that independence will come with a price – we will have to institute some form of carbon pricing (EGP supports a direct carbon tax).   A price on carbon has two benefits – on the one hand, it co-opts some of those who would otherwise be opposed to regulatory reforms that enable increased consumption of fossil fuels, while at the same time providing an incentive for investment in cleaner technologies that would enable gas and coal to liquid conversions (which would also ease the exportation of surpluses of these fuels).   Indeed, with the correct regulatory mix that is sensitive to both environmental concerns and energy needs, it is conceivable that the US (or, at least, USA/Canada combined) could at once become the world’s largest consumer, producer and exporter of energy before mid century.

One comment

  1. […] wrote yesterday about the National Petroleum Council report that estimates North American oil production could […]

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