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UK-based research firm Wood Mackenzie said enhanced oil recovery technology expected to come on stream after 2020 could boost U.S. tight oil production by up to 25 percent.

In a report released Tuesday the firm said the technology could add anywhere from 1.5 to 3 million barrels a day to U.S. production levels by 2030.

Enhanced oil recovery technology is still being tested and is not currently available for commercial use.

However, Wood Mackenzie said preliminary testing indicates the technology could increase recovery rates by up to 100 percent.

A number of pilot tests are currently underway including a test at Eagle Ford shale play sites operated by Houston-based EOG Resources.

“Growth in U.S. tight oil continues to impress as development technology and techniques have yet to mature beyond adolescence,” said senior North America upstream analyst for Wood Mackenzie Phani Gadde said.

Wood Mackenzie said increased production is not expected to impact Brent oil prices.

The report also weighed in on the current debate about whether the United States should lift its ban on crude exports.

Wood Mackenzie said if U.S. crude prices fall compared to international benchmarks lifting the ban would help preserve current investment levels.

The report argued that lifting the ban would also improve domestic tight oil wellhead margins by about $5 per barrel, encouraging investment and raising production rates.

Keeping the ban in place as production increases could drive U.S. crude prices down by more than $30 per barrel compared to international benchmarks and drag down investment as well as production levels, Wood Mackenzie said.

“Policy makers need to get out in front of the next technological progression to not delay the full benefits,” principal analyst of Americas downstream, midstream and chemicals for Wood Mackenzie Skip York said.


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