NEW YORK — U.S. oil output is surging so fast that the United States could soon overtake Saudi Arabia as the world’s biggest producer.
Driven by high prices and new drilling methods, U.S. production of crude and other liquid hydrocarbons is on track to rise 7 percent this year to an average of 10.9 million barrels per day. This will be the fourth straight year of crude increases and the biggest single-year gain since 1951.
The boom has surprised even the experts.
“Five years ago, if I or anyone had predicted today’s production growth, people would have thought we were crazy,” says Jim Burkhard, head of oil markets research at IHS CERA, an energy consulting firm.
Here’s a chart showing US domestic crude oil production since 1995, courtesy of Mark Perry:
But more startling than this revolution in oil production is the dramatic increase in natural gas production:
This is game-changing.
Honestly, I think politicians get a little dopey about energy independence. We are never going to get all of our energy from inside the United States, because in some markets and for some applications it’s just going to make more sense to get energy from outside the country. But to the extent that getting more energy from US producers as opposed to oil companies owned, in many cases, by not-so-nice nation states is a good move, Americans have to be happy about this development.
And it’s happening not because of government subsidies or government “investments.” It’s happening because fossil fuel works, and private sector innovations have made fossil fuels easier to access here in America.
It’s one of the great technological advancements of our time.