Sustainability 2011, 3(10), 1866-1887; doi:10.3390/su3101866
Article

A New Long Term Assessment of Energy Return on Investment (EROI) for U.S. Oil and Gas Discovery and Production

1 Department of Environmental Studies, State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, NY 13210, USA 2 Program in Biology and Environmental Sciences, State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, NY 13210, USA 3 Department of Geography and Environment, Boston University, Boston, MA 02215, USA
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 5 June 2011; in revised form: 1 August 2011 / Accepted: 6 August 2011 / Published: 14 October 2011
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Studies in EROI (Energy Return on Investment))
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Abstract: Oil and gas are the main sources of energy in the United States. Part of their appeal is the high Energy Return on Energy Investment (EROI) when procuring them. We assessed data from the United States Bureau of the Census of Mineral Industries, the Energy Information Administration (EIA), the Oil and Gas Journal for the years 1919–2007 and from oil analyst Jean Laherrere to derive EROI for both finding and producing oil and gas. We found two general patterns in the relation of energy gains compared to energy costs: a gradual secular decrease in EROI and an inverse relation to drilling effort. EROI for finding oil and gas decreased exponentially from 1200:1 in 1919 to 5:1 in 2007. The EROI for production of the oil and gas industry was about 20:1 from 1919 to 1972, declined to about 8:1 in 1982 when peak drilling occurred, recovered to about 17:1 from 1986–2002 and declined sharply to about 11:1 in the mid to late 2000s. The slowly declining secular trend has been partly masked by changing effort: the lower the intensity of drilling, the higher the EROI compared to the secular trend. Fuel consumption within the oil and gas industry grew continuously from 1919 through the early 1980s, declined in the mid-1990s, and has increased recently, not surprisingly linked to the increased cost of finding and extracting oil.
Keywords: EROI; oil; gas; depletion; energy cost

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MDPI and ACS Style

Guilford, M.C.; Hall, C.A.; O’Connor, P.; Cleveland, C.J. A New Long Term Assessment of Energy Return on Investment (EROI) for U.S. Oil and Gas Discovery and Production. Sustainability 2011, 3, 1866-1887.

AMA Style

Guilford MC, Hall CA, O’Connor P, Cleveland CJ. A New Long Term Assessment of Energy Return on Investment (EROI) for U.S. Oil and Gas Discovery and Production. Sustainability. 2011; 3(10):1866-1887.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Guilford, Megan C.; Hall, Charles A.S.; O’Connor, Peter; Cleveland, Cutler J. 2011. "A New Long Term Assessment of Energy Return on Investment (EROI) for U.S. Oil and Gas Discovery and Production." Sustainability 3, no. 10: 1866-1887.

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