Can the U.S. Oil and Gas Resource Base Support Sustained Production?

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Science  26 Jun 1987:
Vol. 236, Issue 4809, pp. 1631-1636
DOI: 10.1126/science.236.4809.1631


Aggressive drilling for oil and gas in the lower 48 states of the United States over the past decade yielded reserve additions sufficient to arrest decline and to stabilize levels of production. Such positive response from a maturely explored and developed oil resource base was unpredicted and largely unanticipated. Two elements of the recent experience—maintenance of stable rates of finding and substantial levels of conventional reserve growth in older fields—indicate that the capability of the resource base to sustain production is yet considerable. The volume of domestic oil and gas production that is necessary in the national interest and the extent to which the resource base should be pursued are the central issues of public energy policy.