Shale Helps United States Reach Historic Oil Production

In November 2012, the International Energy Agency (IEA) released its 2012 World Energy Outlook Report, which found that North American oil and natural gas development is redefining the global energy landscape. Now just a few weeks later, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) has released its “Short-Term Energy Outlook” for January, which actually shines an even brighter light on this historic shale-driven news.

According to the report, oil production increased by more than 800,000 barrels per day from last year.  As E&E News (sub req’d) highlights, this growing output from the Bakken and Eagle Ford shale plays averaged 6.4 million barrels per day over 2012.  The EIA says this is “the largest annual increase [in oil production] since the birth of the U.S. oil industry in 1859.”

And things aren’t slowing down anytime soon. The first EIA report of its kind to contain 2014 data projects U.S. crude oil output will rise to 7.3 million barrels per day in 2013 and 7.9 million barrels per day in 2014. According to EIA, this would “mark the highest annual average level of production since 1988.”

EIA’s glowing outlook is not alone. A report released in September 2012 by Goldman Sachs highlighted America’s energy revolution, which is made possible by hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling. According to Goldman, this growth “will transform the domestic and global economy over the next decade.” And it’s certainly a boost for American energy security. Numbers from IEA and research by Bank of America Merrill Lynch found the United States was by far the largest contributor to non-OPEC oil supply growth in 2011:

Just a few decades ago, the United States was in the midst of the Arab Oil Embargo, facing a ban on petroleum imports from Arab oil-producing nations and left in the throes of the 1973 energy crisis until conflict resolved in spring of 1974.  Now that story has reversed. Thanks to shale, the United States stands to double its historic production, decreasing reliance on foreign energy and increasing our own domestic energy capacity. Meanwhile, countries like Saudi Arabia are forced to scratch their heads about an outlook that no longer places them as the global oil leader.

From helping us become more energy secure to providing a major boost to our economy, the responsible development of America’s shale reserves is a vital component of our country’s energy future.


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