"If independent U.S. oil producers are right, last year was only a taste of the transformation that is coming to America’s oilpatch. Some optimists are already forecasting huge increases by 2015, perhaps taking U.S. oil production up by some two million barrels per day to 8 million bpd by then.
Both the expertise of the industry and huge amounts of investment capital are already moving into less established shale plays hoping to replicate the success that has already materialized in North Dakota and Texas, which put these places on oil traders’ lips as the unprecedented slump in West Texas Intermediate crude oil prices compared to globally-traded grades.
Well, get ready to learn a few more names.
Perhaps you have heard of the Utica Shale in Ohio now, where Total has just splashed out more than $2 billion on a prospect that is still in its infancy — production is essentially nil today— but which promoters say could be the next Eagle Ford shale. But have you heard of Colorado’s Niobrara shale, California’s Monterey Shale, Oklahoma’s Mississippi Lime Shale, the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale in central Louisiana or the Lower Smackover Shale that stretches from Northern Louisiana into Arkansas?
Every single one of those places, and others throughout the United States, are currently being combed over by cash-rich independent oil companies hoping to find the next big oil play."