Stripper wells accounted for 10% of US oil production in 2015 – EIA

Production share of oil stripper wells has fallen from high of 19% in 2008 to 10% in 2015

stripper

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, based on DrillingInfo Note: Results can vary because of the types of wells, completions, and leases included in the analysis, update schedules of source databases, and estimation results for a number of late-reporting states.

Stripper wells, or wells that produce small volumes, are an important but decreasing share of total US oil and natural gas production, according to the US Energy Information Administration.

These wells are characterized as producing no more than 15 boe/d over a 12-month period.

EIA estimates that there were about 380,000 stripper oil wells (so called because they are stripping the remaining oil out of the ground) in the US operating at the end of 2015, compared to about 90,000 non-stripper oil wells.

Wells become stripper wells through the normal decline of producing wells, some of which may have at one time been very prolific.

These wells usually have low ongoing maintenance costs and relatively low transportation costs to move their products to distribution systems.

As long as these wells are economically feasible, they are kept active and may continue to produce for many years.

The well counts in this analysis include oil wells that may also produce some natural gas.

Wells producing less than 6,000 cubic feet of natural gas per barrel of oil are considered oil wells, while wells producing 6,000 cubic feet or more of natural gas per barrel of oil are considered gas wells.

Stripper gas wells produce no more than 90,000 cubic feet per day of natural gas over 12 months.

Despite each stripper well’s small individual production, their large number ensures a significant contribution to total oil production.

The production share of oil stripper wells has fallen from a high of 19 per cent in 2008 to an estimated 10 per cent in 2015.

This decrease in share reflects the large increase of production volume from very prolific wells drilled in shale and tight oil formations with enhanced completion techniques.

These wells, as well as non-shale onshore and offshore wells in Alaska, the Gulf of Mexico, and other areas, produce at a much higher rate than stripper wells, and thus account for a much larger percentage of total U.S. oil production.

 

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