* Shell to boost shale output by 140,000 bpoed by 2020
* Shell shale output profitable at average oil price $40/bbl
* Argentina shale development decision in 18 months
By Ron Bousso and Ernest Scheyder
HOUSTON, March 7 (Reuters) – Royal Dutch Shell is ramping its North American shale output earlier than planned to lock in quick returns from what has become one of its most profitable businesses, the head of Shell’s unconventional energy business said. The Anglo-Dutch company plans to make shale oil and gas in the United States, Canada and Argentina a key engine of growth in the next decade, targeting output of around 500,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd), Greg Guidry told Reuters in an interview.
A drive to cut the cost of producing oil and gas from U.S. shale deposits has proven so effective that Shell has accelerated development plans, Guidry said on the sidelines of the CERAWeek industry conference in Houston.
It aims to boost output by 140,000 boepd over the next three years in the Permian basin in West Texas and the Duvernay region in Canada, said Guidry, an executive vice president.