For the United States to become energy independent, it would have to produce an additional 4.5 million barrels of oil per day (mbd). Even though we import more than 7 mbd of , our net imports are 4.5 mbd. We export the remainder as various petroleum products.
Currently, the top four shale oil fields in the United States (Permian, Eagle Ford, Bakken Energy and Niobrara) produced 4.8 mbd of oil. So, for the United States to become oil independent, we would have to double current shale oil production in these top four fields.
You see, that is a huge undertaking because these top shale oil fields are suffering from extremely high annual decline rates. The EIA – U.S. Energy Information Agency labels this decline as a “Legacy Decline.” I will label it as an “Annual decline rate” in this article. So, how bad are these annual decline rates? Let’s start by looking at what is taking place in the Bakken Field in North Dakota: