Wide number of applications, increasing energy demand, Depleting conventional oil and gas reserves, concerns related to energy security, advancement in exploration and production techniques are some of the major factors driving tight oil market. Whereas, lack of modern technology in emerging countries, high capital requirement and negative environmental impacts are some of the factors restraining the growth of this market.
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The study published in the journal Energy Policy by the researchers from the University of Oxford, stated that the demand for oil would surpass the supply by 2015. Another study by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) in 2006, predicted that the world oil consumption will increase to 98.3 million barrels per day in 2015 and about 130 million barrels per day by 2030. Numerous research studies along with these two have posed the questions over the longevity of world crude oil reserves. Keeping the above facts in mind the tight oil which is also known as the shale oil can act as a substitute to the depleting crude oil and natural gas reserves which may have a positive impact on the tight oil market.
Segmentation of the tight oil market can be done on the basis of the technology, applications, location of tight oil reserves and the tight oil producing countries. The tight oil exploration technique is similar to the technique used for the exploration of shale gas. Tight oil is extracted using hydraulic fracturing of the sedimentary rocks. In hydraulic fracturing liquid is (water) mixed with chemicals and sand and the resultant mixture (fluid) is injected with high pressure into the well. Water and sand constitute around 99.5% of the total fluid mixture. The high pressure stream breaks the non permeable sedimentary rocks that results in the outflow of the tight oil. Being similar to crude oil, when tight oil is refined it can act as a source of fuel and various chemicals. The main products include heavy fuel oil, light fuel oil gasoline, diesel, naphtha, methane, tar and others.
Geographical segmentation of the tight oil market can be done on the basis of location of the tight oil reserves and the tight oil producing countries. According to EIA major tight oil reserves (estimated) are located in the United States (48-58 billion barrels ), Mexico (13 billion barrels) and Canada (9 billion barrels) in North America, Russia (75 billion barrels) in Europe, China (32 billion barrels), Pakistan (9 billion barrels), Indonesia (8 billion barrels) and Australia in Asia Pacific (APAC), Libya (26 billion barrels) in Middle East and Africa (MEA) and Argentina (27 billion barrels) and Venezuela (13 billion barrels) in Rest of World (RoW). Major Tight oil producing Countries are the United States, Canada and Russia. According to EIA the United States contributes around 10.4% of total crude oil production out of which 4.3% (3.22 million barrels per day) is contributed by tight oil. According to EIA, In Canada the total tight oil production was 0.34 million barrels per day, which is around 10% of total crude oil production in Canada.
Some of the tight oil producing companies are Total S.A, Chevron Corporation, Royal Dutch Shell Plc, British Petroleum Plc and others.
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