Oil exploration outside the US in significant decline

Fuel Fix:
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Outside of the U.S. energy boom, the oil industry discovered the least amount of crude in 64 years, as the oil-market crash forced drillers to make deep cuts to exploration budgets, research firm IHS says in a new report.

The group estimates 2.8 billion barrels of oil were discovered last year, the smallest amount on record since the industry began its surge of exploration for oil around the globe after World War II. The decline in discoveries is the culmination of an industry-wide pullback from international waters that began when companies turned their drill bits to shale formations in Texas, North Dakota and Oklahoma.

“We’ve seen four consecutive years of declining oil volumes, which has never happened before,” said Leta Smith, a researcher at IHS Energy, in a written statement.

The shale revolution drew oil producers to North America, away from more expensive and risky investments in international waters. The years of $100 oil made it profitable to develop existing oil fields, and in the downturn, oil exploration was one of the first items to get nixed in corporate budgets.
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There was a substantial cutback in offshore exploration because the current price does not really support it.  The rush has been to greater efficiency in the shale drilling business.  There is less risk of a costly dry hole and the cost of producing from shale wells has dropped.

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