University of Houston Cullen College of Engineering


Bloomberg Cites John Lee on Future Shale Production Estimates


Melanie Ziems

Bloomberg Businessweek reported earlier this month that the accuracy of shale oil reserve estimates made in the past may not be completely accurate, which is more obvious as we advance the mathematical technology used to make the estimates.

Jan Arps, a petroleum engineer, published a formula in 1945 showing how to predict how much a crude well will produce before running dry. Even though when Arps died in 1976 shale technology had yet to be born, his crude well equation was used to predict shale well production. The figures produced by Arps' formula, we now know, may not be quite accurate.

John Lee, Professor of Petroleum Engineering and Hugh Roy and Lillie Cranz Cullen Distinguished University Chair at the University of Houston's Cullen College of Engineering, spoke with Bloomberg about Arps' formula and the future of shale well production. “Things could turn out more pessimistic than people project,” said Lee. “The long-term production of some of those oil-rich wells may be overstated.”

Read the full article on Bloomberg Businessweek here.



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