On the Path to North American Energy Independence: U.S. Oil Output Highest in Two Decades


Advancements in Drilling Technology and Innovation Lead to Greater Recoveries on Non-Federal Lands

WASHINGTON, DC – The Department of Energy announced yesterday that U.S. oil production has reached its highest production levels in two decades, reporting current production levels exceeding 7 million barrels a day. The news is just the latest sign that new resource discoveries combined with exciting technological advancements are helping pave the way toward North American energy independence.

The U.S. is experiencing this oil boom because of advancements in hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling techniques, which have allowed developers to tap into America’s vast shale oil reserves. The Congressional Research Service estimates that 96 percent of the oil production increase in the U.S. since 2007 has occurred on non-federal lands where the lack of bureaucratic red tape has allowed production to flourish in a responsible manner.

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), the U.S. is now on track to surpass Saudi Arabia in oil production by the year 2020. This increase in production is creating jobs, spurring economic growth, and enhancing our nation’s energy security. IEA’s Executive Director, Maria van der Hoeven said in November of 2012, “increasing US oil and gas production are only good things for global energy security, and are a major boon for American competitiveness.”

The Washington Post with Bloomberg reports:

U.S. oil production exceeded 7 million barrels a day for the first time since March 1993 as improved drilling techniques boosted exploration across the country and reinforced a shift toward energy independence.

The Energy Department reported today that weekly average output rose to 7.002 million barrels a day in the week ended Jan. 4, a 1.16 million-barrel increase from the same week last year. The country met 83 percent of its energy needs in the first nine months of 2012, on pace to be the highest annual rate since 1991, department data show.

Production grew by the fastest pace in U.S. history last year and will accelerate in 2013 as horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, unlocks crude trapped in formations such as North Dakota’s Bakken shale. The state boosted production 40 percent last year through October, Energy Department data show. Texas was up 23 percent, and Utah rose 11 percent.

Once unthinkable a few short years ago, North American energy independence is within our grasp. House Republicans will continue pursuing a sensible, “all of the above” approach that embraces our natural resources, keeps prices affordable, and creates jobs.