The U.S. continues to make strides in the area of unconventional resources. The latest news from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) touts surging tight oil production that pushed the nation’s overall oil production to new heights. The EIA reported last week that tight oil production in the U.S. averaged 3.22 MMbbl/d, contributing to an average of 7.84 MMbbl/d of overall crude oil production. The amount equated to more than 10% of the world’s total production. That is quite an accomplishment for a nation that was heavily dependent on foreign oil not too long ago. The production increase was attributed by the EIA to “technologically advanced drilling and completion processes to produce oil from tight formations.” And such oil, the EIA said, is not limited to shale reservoirs with low permeability. But not surprisingly, the Eagle Ford in South Texas and the Bakken in North Dakota and Montana are leading the way. Figures show that 1.21 MMbbl/d, or 36% of total U.S. tight oil production, was produced in the Eagle Ford in February 2014, while 0.94 MMbbl/d, or 28% of total U.S. tight oil production, was produced in the Bakken that month. Technology has brought the nation’s oil and gas industry a long way. But the future could hold even more advances as companies and government agencies look to technology in search of EOR techniques and new applications. Already, natural gas, carbon dioxide and nitrogen have been used as flooding agents to enhance oil recovery for conventional reservoirs. Companies are applying EOR techniques to increase tight oil production as well. LightStream Resources, for example, has conducted simulation work using natural gas in EOR. The E&P company, which targets the Bakken Formation in Saskatchewan, Canada, said on its website that it believes natural gas is a more effective flooding agent for EOR in the Bakken. “Our simulation work suggests reserve recovery factors could improve from approximately 15% under primary methods to over 25% with natural gas as a flooding agent,” the company said. “Initially, natural gas used in our planned EOR projects will come from our production facilities and is expected to be recovered and sold at a later date, further enhancing the full cycle economics of EOR.” Imagine the possibilities if EOR techniques were successfully applied at tight oil formations across the nation. At 91%, the majority of tight oil produced in North America comes from the U.S., according to the EIA. The rest comes from Canada. The two countries led the world in commercial tight oil production, but others—specifically Australia and the U.K.—could join them. “With industry conditions resembling those of North America, Australia and the United Kingdom have the potential to be among the next countries with commercially viable tight oil production,” the EIA said. “Outside these two countries, there are many examples of energy companies drilling exploratory wells and committing to large investment plans to develop tight oil formations. Many of these formations are located within basins that already produce conventional crude oil in Mexico, Russia, China and Argentina.” Besides the U.S., only Canada and Russia have produced tight oil in commercial quantities, according to the EIA. In Canada, tight oil production averaged 0.34 MMbbl/d in 2013, mainly from reservoirs in Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan, while Russia produced 0.12 MMbbl/d of tight oil, mainly in the West Siberia Basin, that year. Contact the author, Velda Addison, at