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Nearly all new U.S. crude oil and natural gas wells are horizontal or directional

The data series recently added to our Monthly Energy Review (MER) provide information on crude oil and natural gas well completions and drilled footage for U.S. wells completed since 2010. In 2021, 81% of U.S. well completions were horizontal or directional, as opposed to 19% of wells that were drilled vertically. Horizontal and directional wells involve drilling a vertical well and then, at a certain depth, bending the path of the drilling away from the vertical well. Although the total number of crude oil and natural gas wells completed in the United States declined by 66% between 2010 and 2021, and total footage (drilling length) has fallen by 30%, U.S. crude oil production has more than doubled, and U.S. gross withdrawals of natural gas have increased 55%.

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