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Tight Oil is crude oil trapped in rock formations that have smaller pore spaces and lower permeability than traditional reservoirs. These formations require hydraulic fracturing for production.

TIGHT OIL 

Definition

Tight oil is crude oil trapped within tight geologic formations with low permeability and low porosity. Permeability is the ability of a fluid to flow through rock and porosity is the ability of that rock to hold fluid. Because of these unique geologic conditions, tight oil requires advanced drilling techniques such as horizontal drilling or hydraulic fracturing to be recovered[1]World Energy Council. (2013). World Energy Resources: 2013 Survey Summary.World Energy Council. (2013). World Energy Resources: 2013 Survey Summary.World Energy Council. (2013). World Energy Resources: 2013 Survey Summary.World Energy Council. (2013). World Energy Resources: 2013 Survey Summary.World Energy Council. (2013). World Energy Resources: 2013 Survey Summary.World Energy Council. (2013). World Energy Resources: 2013 Survey Summary.World Energy Council. (2013). World Energy Resources: 2013 Survey Summary.[2]National Energy Board. (2011). Tight Oil Developments in the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin. National Energy Board. (2011). Tight Oil Developments in the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin. National Energy Board. (2011). Tight Oil Developments in the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin. National Energy Board. (2011). Tight Oil Developments in the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin. National Energy Board. (2011). Tight Oil Developments in the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin. .  

 
 

There is some confusion over tight oil terminology due to the term "shale gas" being used to describe natural gas in tight formations.  This is not equivalent for oil; the term "shale oil" or "oil shale" is not a type of tight oil.  While in a similar geologic formation, it is a formation containing kerogen and requires different production techniques.

Context

Since its discovery, hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has become a main driver in the exploitation of tight oil resources.  Advances in this technology have led to a new global energy landscape as it has allowed for large increases in production of petroleum in the United States, traditionally one of the world's largest energy importers[3]Maugeri, Leonardo. (June 2013). The Shale Oil Boom: A U.S phenomenon. Harvard Kennedy School. Maugeri, Leonardo. (June 2013). The Shale Oil Boom: A U.S phenomenon. Harvard Kennedy School. Maugeri, Leonardo. (June 2013). The Shale Oil Boom: A U.S phenomenon. Harvard Kennedy School. Maugeri, Leonardo. (June 2013). The Shale Oil Boom: A U.S phenomenon. Harvard Kennedy School. Maugeri, Leonardo. (June 2013). The Shale Oil Boom: A U.S phenomenon. Harvard Kennedy School. [4]Ashraf, M. & Satapathy, M. (2014). The Global Quest For Light Tight Oil: Myth Or Reality? Schlumberger Business Consulting.https://www.sbc.slb.com/Our_Ideas/Energy_Perspectives/1st%20Semester13_Content/1st%20Semester%202013_Global.aspx Ashraf, M. & Satapathy, M. (2014). The Global Quest For Light Tight Oil: Myth Or Reality? Schlumberger Business Consulting.https://www.sbc.slb.com/Our_Ideas/Energy_Perspectives/1st%20Semester13_Content/1st%20Semester%202013_Global.aspx Ashraf, M. & Satapathy, M. (2014). The Global Quest For Light Tight Oil: Myth Or Reality? Schlumberger Business Consulting.https://www.sbc.slb.com/Our_Ideas/Energy_Perspectives/1st%20Semester13_Content/1st%20Semester%202013_Global.aspx Ashraf, M. & Satapathy, M. (2014). The Global Quest For Light Tight Oil: Myth Or Reality? Schlumberger Business Consulting.https://www.sbc.slb.com/Our_Ideas/Energy_Perspectives/1st%20Semester13_Content/1st%20Semester%202013_Global.aspx Ashraf, M. & Satapathy, M. (2014). The Global Quest For Light Tight Oil: Myth Or Reality? Schlumberger Business Consulting.https://www.sbc.slb.com/Our_Ideas/Energy_Perspectives/1st%20Semester13_Content/1st%20Semester%202013_Global.aspx .

The development of fracking has been controversial due to environmental concerns. The process typically requires 11 million litres of water per well but can vary greatly depending on the characteristics of the geologic formation. Other environmental concerns include contamination of ground water, depletion of fresh water, and surface pollution in the drilling process. There are also concerns linking fracking to enhanced seismic activity[5]Altman, M., Capito, S., Lechtenböhmer, S., Martre, Z., Weindrof, W., & Zittel, W. (June 2011). Impacts of shale gas and shale oil extraction on the Environment And On Human Health. European Parliament.Altman, M., Capito, S., Lechtenböhmer, S., Martre, Z., Weindrof, W., & Zittel, W. (June 2011). Impacts of shale gas and shale oil extraction on the Environment And On Human Health. European Parliament.Altman, M., Capito, S., Lechtenböhmer, S., Martre, Z., Weindrof, W., & Zittel, W. (June 2011). Impacts of shale gas and shale oil extraction on the Environment And On Human Health. European Parliament.Altman, M., Capito, S., Lechtenböhmer, S., Martre, Z., Weindrof, W., & Zittel, W. (June 2011). Impacts of shale gas and shale oil extraction on the Environment And On Human Health. European Parliament.Altman, M., Capito, S., Lechtenböhmer, S., Martre, Z., Weindrof, W., & Zittel, W. (June 2011). Impacts of shale gas and shale oil extraction on the Environment And On Human Health. European Parliament.Altman, M., Capito, S., Lechtenböhmer, S., Martre, Z., Weindrof, W., & Zittel, W. (June 2011). Impacts of shale gas and shale oil extraction on the Environment And On Human Health. European Parliament..

References

  1. ^ World Energy Council. (2013). World Energy Resources: 2013 Survey Summary.
  2. ^ National Energy Board. (2011). Tight Oil Developments in the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin. 
  3. ^ Maugeri, Leonardo. (June 2013). The Shale Oil Boom: A U.S phenomenon. Harvard Kennedy School. 
  4. ^ Ashraf, M. & Satapathy, M. (2014). The Global Quest For Light Tight Oil: Myth Or Reality? Schlumberger Business Consulting.https://www.sbc.slb.com/Our_Ideas/Energy_Perspectives/1st%20Semester13_Content/1st%20Semester%202013_Global.aspx 
  5. ^ Altman, M., Capito, S., Lechtenböhmer, S., Martre, Z., Weindrof, W., & Zittel, W. (June 2011). Impacts of shale gas and shale oil extraction on the Environment And On Human Health. European Parliament.

Sorry, we do not yet have a video specifically for Tight Oil.  We are adding new videos to StudentEnergy.org weekly, but in the meantime check out this video on Hydraulic Fracturing.

Take a Step Back

Unconventional Oil

Unconventional Oil refers to crude oil that is not produced by traditional extraction methods. This includes but is not limited to offshore, oil sands, and tight oil.

Oil

Oil is a fossil fuel and liquid hydrocarbon used mainly for the production of transportation fuels and petroleum-based products.

Keep Learning! Progress To

Hydraulic Fracturing

Hydraulic fracturing is an oil and gas production technique used in tight geologic formations that involves horizontal directional drilling of wells as well as the use of water, sand and chemicals at high pressures to fracture rock and release hydrocarbons.