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Oil producers face new challenges

Almost daily announcements of new oil fields and increased production from known areas promise the oil flows for decades to come. But it is still unclear how the new discoveries will affect the American and global economies.
by Adam Wilmoth Published: December 7, 2012

New “world-class” oil discoveries have become almost daily occurrences in this era of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing.

Just this week, Oklahoma City-based Continental Resources Inc. said that it has successfully tested the third of four presumably oil-rich rock layers below the now-famous Bakken Shale in North Dakota.

The announcement came shortly after Mexico's state-run oil company PEMEX said it has discovered billions of barrels of recoverable oil in its southern state of Tabasco, two large fields in the Gulf of Mexico and in the portion of the Eagle Ford basin south of the Rio Grande.

Last week, conferences were held in Oklahoma City, Tulsa and Wichita, Kan., to discuss the booming Mississippi Lime play in northern Oklahoma and western Kansas.

Oil producers also recently have boasted about the potential for oil in California's Monterey Shale play. A consultant to Los Angeles-based Occidental Petroleum this week told Environment and Energy Publishing that the California field holds “more oil per square meter ... than any other oil-producing basin on the planet.”

The new discoveries and developments led the U.S. Energy Information Administration on Wednesday to raise its estimates for future domestic oil and natural gas production.

In its Annual Energy Outlook 2013, the government said the country's oil producers likely will see annual growth of about 234,000 barrels per day through 2019.

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by Adam Wilmoth
Energy Editor
Adam Wilmoth returned to The Oklahoman as energy editor in 2012 after working for four years in public relations. He previously spent seven years as a business reporter at The Oklahoman, including five years covering the state's energy sector....
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