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EIA: US O&G proved reserves decrease in 2015 due to lower prices

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Oilfield Technology,

U.S. crude oil proved reserves declined 4.7 billion bbls (11.8%) from their year-end 2014 level to 35.2 billion bbls at year-end 2015, according to US Crude Oil and Natural Gas Proved Reserves, Year-end 2015, released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). US natural gas proved reserves decreased 64.5 trillion ft3 (Tcf), a 16.6% decline, reducing the US total to 324.3 trillion ft3 at year-end 2015.

The significant reduction in the average price of both oil and natural gas between 2014 and 2015 resulted in more challenging economic and operating conditions, an important factor in determining proved reserves. These price developments, reflected in a nearly 50% decline in average West Texas Intermediate crude oil spot prices (from US$95/bbl in 2014 to $50/bbl in 2015) and a more than 40% decline in the natural gas spot price at the Louisiana Henry Hub (from US$4.55 per million Btu in 2014 to US$2.62 per million Btu in 2015) led to reduced drilling activity and downward revisions in proved reserves across a broad range of US producers in 2015.

Changes in proved reserves between year-end 2014 and year-end 2015 are summarised in the following table:

Crude oil and lease condensate

(billion bbls)

Natural gas

(trillion ft3)

2014 US proved reserves  39.9  388.8
Net change to US proved reserves  -4.7  -64.5
2015 US proved reserves  35.2  324.3
Percentage change  -11.8%  -16.6%

New Mexico had the largest net increase in proved reserves of crude oil and lease condensate of all states in 2015, mostly from development of the Wolfcamp shale and Bone Spring plays in southeastern New Mexico's portion of the Delaware Basin.

Crude oil and lease condensate extensions to existing fields were highest in Texas and North Dakota in 2015. However, as a result of downward revisions, both states experienced a net reduction in proved reserves.

In 2015, Ohio added more than 5 trillion ft3 of natural gas proved reserves (in the Utica/Point Pleasant Shale play), and surpassed Arkansas and the Gulf of Mexico to become the ninth-largest natural gas reserves state.

Proved reserves are those volumes of oil and natural gas that geological and engineering data demonstrate with reasonable certainty to be recoverable in future years from known reservoirs under existing economic and operating conditions. US Crude Oil and Natural Gas Proved Reserves, Year-end 2015 is available at:

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