UPDATE 3-U.S. oil reserves jump on shale but gas tumbles in 2012 -EIA

Thu Apr 10, 2014 7:35pm GMT

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By Sabina Zawadzki and Elizabeth Dilts

NEW YORK, April 10 (Reuters) - Proven U.S. oil reserves in 2012 reached the highest level since 1976, boosted by shale plays in Texas and North Dakota, but gas reserves tumbled for the first time in a decade due to low prices, the Energy Information Administration said on Thursday.

Production in the world's largest oil consumer is booming thanks to shale oil and gas recovered from tight rocks by drilling long horizontal wells and hydraulically fracturing them, or "fracking."

The boost in oil reserves reflects the buoyant U.S. energy industry, but it does not change the country's standing among the world's petroleum powerhouses.

Proven oil and condensate reserves, meaning oil still in the ground estimated to be technically and commercially recoverable, jumped 15.4 percent in 2012 to 33 billion barrels, the EIA said. Companies booked 5.4 billion barrels of new reserves through discoveries, including extensions in old oil fields.

Various revisions and adjustments added another 1.5 billion barrels, while the extraction of 2.4 billion barrels brought the net addition to reserves to 4.5 billion barrels, the EIA said.

Reserves in the Eagle Ford shale oil play in Texas, at 3.4 billion barrels, surpassed that of North Dakota's Bakken play, which had 3.2 billion barrels. In 2011, Bakken held 2.0 billion barrels and Eagle Ford 1.6 billion barrels.

Proven reserves count only the oil that is possible to access under current commercial conditions and using current technology and so can rise and fall with oil prices or increase as technologies improve - as they have done in shale drilling.   Continued...

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