Petroleum Drilling and Production in the United States: Yield per Effort and Net Energy Analysis

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Science  06 Feb 1981:
Vol. 211, Issue 4482, pp. 576-579
DOI: 10.1126/science.211.4482.576


For the past three decades the quantity of petroleum (both oil and oil plus gas) found per foot of drilling effort in the United States for any given year can be expressed as a secular decrease of about 2 percent per year combined with an inverse function of drilling effort for that year. Extrapolation of energy costs and gains from petroleum drilling and extraction indicates that drilling for domestic petroleum could cease to be a net source of energy by about 2004 at low drilling rates and by 2000 or sooner at high drilling rates, and that the net yield will be less at higher drilling rates.