The shale boom was one of the most impressive growth stories, from take off in 2008 to the Permian stealing the mantle from Saudi Arabia's Ghawar as the world's highest producing oilfield in a little over a decade. Overall, Reuters has estimated that, "U.S. petroleum production is at least 10-11 million bpd higher than it would have been without horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing.''
Unfortunately, the shale patch has lately been struggling to ramp up production due to a litany of challenges including pressure from investors to boost returns, limited equipment and workers as well as a lack of capital.
But shale giant ExxonMobil is now betting that shale producers can double crude output from their existing wells by employing novel fracking technologies.
"There's just a lot of oil being left in the ground. Fracking's been around for a really long time, but the science of fracking is not well understood," Exxon Chief Executive Officer Darren Woods said Thursday at the Bernstein Strategic Decisions conference. Woods has revealed that Exxon is currently working on two specific areas to improve fracking. First off, the company is trying to frack more precisely along the well so that more oil-soaked rock gets drained. It's also looking for ways to keep the fracked cracks open longer so as to boost the flow of oil.