Trisha Curtis

Research Associate

Trisha Curtis is a Co-Founder of PetroNerds, LLC. She was formerly the Director of Research, Upstream and Midstream, at the Energy Policy Research Foundation, Inc. (EPRINC). Since 2010, she has led extensive research efforts and authored several reports on the North American upstream and midstream markets. In November 2015, Ms. Curtis published a study on the state of U.S. shale oil in a low oil price environment with the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies (OIES) and EPRINC. She spearheaded EPRINC’s projects with Department of Energy for the Quadrennial Energy Review, evaluating future North American crude oil production volumes and midstream transportation options through 2030.

At PetroNerds, Ms. Curtis is currently evaluating U.S. upstream assets on a wells-up basis, assessing the viability of midstream and downstream projects, and studying global markets in order to assess the impact of lower oil prices on the U.S and other major oil producing nations. Ms. Curtis’ work for Department of Defense has focused extensively on China and international economics.

Ms. Curtis is a research associate at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies (OIES) and a non-resident fellow at the Energy Policy Research Foundation, Inc.

Contact

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                    [post_content] => This paper seeks to assess the well productivity changes in US shale since the collapse of oil prices in 2014 by analysing the nature of these productivity gains through an assessment of the impact of cost cuts, efficiency gains, and technology advances on the performance of recently developed shale and tight oil wells.  The paper argues that the shale oil sector is becoming far more resilient and nimble than many had expected and productivity continues to grow even in a low price environment. Looking ahead, there is a lot of running room left in the unconventional oil plays. The paper argues that high grading to core areas is an important factor, but it does not explain the entirety of productivity gains.  While there has been no single transformative technological development with regards to shale oil development over the past several years, there are signs that shale oil is moving from a manufacturing process, in which producers simply repeat what worked on the previous well, to a more thoughtful well researched program, particularly in the areas of completion designs, well spacing, better rock analysis and proper lateral placement, which have all been contributing to well productivity gains.
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                    [post_content] => One of the biggest unanswered questions facing the market is whether or not relatively high-cost US shale oil production can survive in a relatively low oil price environment (sub $60 per barrel). This is the first economic test of the shale oil renaissance. While shale production has thus far proved resilient (due to a combination of factors, such as enhancing efficiency gains, lowering the cost of services, and retreating to the more productive areas), signs of weakness are beginning to show. This paper seeks to answer a number of questions, including:

• Can the efficiency gains made over the past several months sustain current production levels?

• Which of the main shale plays are likely to be impacted the most?

• Will debt levels and bankruptcies put US companies and production at risk?

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• How long oil prices remain low is a key determinant in the flexibility of US crude production. The US will not be a swing producer in the conventional OPEC sense where production can quickly be turned on and off within months. Should oil prices remain depressed through the duration of 2016, it will take additional time to raise production levels. Many people have already lost their jobs and much deeper cuts remain a reality. Service providers will go out of business. While the US is a flexible and liquid market, it will take time to bring the workforce back when oil prices rise.

Executive Summary
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Latest Publications by Trisha Curtis

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