I am looking for a historic and on-going source for fracking cost per barrel of oil. Ideally for the USA with regional and/or State values. However, larger sources are welcome.

Any ideas?


2 Answers 2


Short answer:

In 2014/2015, Maybe $48/BOE (Barrel of Oil Equivalent). The $48 is the sum of the negative items in the slide below. This unit cost is currently unprofitable.

However, there is oil-fracking, and there is gas fracking. Gas-fracking is more profitable.

Long answer:

See this 2015 presentation from star hedge-fund manager David Einhorn.

On slide 36-38, he says:

How much does it cost for [oil fracking company] Pioneer to create a developed reserve? This chart looks at Pioneer cumulatively over the past 9 years. It has grown its developed reserves by about 30 million BOE and taken about 470 million out of the ground. So, it has developed about 500 million BOE. Capex net of asset sales during that same period has been $14 billion, meaning reserves have cost $28 per BOE to develop.


On the $36 of revenues per BOE, Pioneer spends about $14 on field operating expenses and another $6 on corporate expenses. Subtract the historical $28 of Capex, and Pioneer loses $12 for every BOE it develops.

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And see slide 66: In the long run, Schlumberger Corp. estimates a "Capex" value of $80/BBL unlike Pioneer which has $28/BOE.

You can find much more detailed data (for this Pioneer company), and more fundamentals about the industry in the 92-page-PDF of the conference presentation I've linked to.

In any case, I think the question is asked in a too general way, and a bit naive. It's like "which type of car has the best bang for the buck"?. It depends.

  • This is a good resource. (+1). However, it only looks at one company. I'm seeking an industry aggregate average/median cost as is available for offshore drilling or onshore drilling.
    – Edmund
    Commented Aug 27, 2016 at 10:55
  • Slide 65 (the Goldman Sachs -data) shows that Pioneer is pretty representative for the industry.
    – knb
    Commented Aug 27, 2016 at 11:37

The data is available here -:


P.S- I work for datzar, an open source data library, where people can discover, share and work with data.

  • Somehow I doubt the cost of a barrel fracked of oil is $2.36. Also, fracking is a very new method of extraction so I doubt there would be cost all the way back to 1918.
    – Edmund
    Commented Aug 21, 2016 at 19:37
  • The original source of the data has been mentioned there :) !
    – Pramit
    Commented Aug 21, 2016 at 19:47
  • 1
    The source is for gasoline prices per gallon. The question asks for fracking cost per barrel of oil. They are very very far from being the same thing.
    – Edmund
    Commented Aug 21, 2016 at 21:42
  • The link is now dead. Commented Oct 15, 2022 at 18:43

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