US Oil Production Hits 28 Year High

Citing the use of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and horizontal drilling, Bloomberg announced that the US crude oil output peaked at a 28 year high last week.

The shale boom in the United States, notably in areas like North Dakota’s Bakken region and Texas’s Eagle Ford formation, has driven the country closer to energy independence in recent years. US production of its energy needs rose to 87 percent in 2013, and hit a high of 90 percent in December of the same year.

Crude output rose 78,000 barrels per day to 8.428 million, exciting John Kilduff of Again Capital LLC. He stated,

“This is an incredible phenomena that looks set to continue. There’s a long way to go before we explore and exploit all of the shale deposits out there.”

Fracking Has Benefitted Production

Controversy surrounds fracking and the technologies used to explore newly found fossil fuel resources in the United States. It has helped the US tap into previously unknown supplies, and has allowed for job creation and the possibility of a secure energy source for the US. Citigroup’s managing director Edward L. Morse believes rising oil barrel production will allow for energy independence within the United States by the end of this decade. He told an audience in February that he “thinks the chances are close to 100 percent that the U.S. will be supplying 100 percent of its energy requirements for power generation and transportation.”

The average daily production is approximately 8 million barrels-per-day (bpd), 1 million more than last year at this time. The growing support for oil production could inevitably lead to a lift of the ban on US crude oil exports, resulting in around a 9.2 million bpd going forward. Despite the ban, the United States is allowed to export refined petroleum products, so much so that it has currently passed Russia as the largest refined petroleum exporter in the world.

Some Are Still Not Convinced

However, not everyone is convinced that expending our fossil fuel supplies is good business, especially when it comes to the Bakken’s role in the Keystone XL pipeline. A recent article from Watchdog.org shows that only eight percent of the pipeline would contain Bakken oil, despite TransCanada’s claims of 25 percent. Keystone opponents feel that the pipeline would not create jobs nor help the US achieve energy independence, and most certainly would cause oil spills. Investment in renewable energy technologies such as solar or wind, coupled with energy efficiency programs, are the sure path towards reduced emissions and long-term success.

A Happy Balance Is Needed

Whether or not one thinks that fracking and increased oil production within the United States is a good idea, the shale boom is currently unstoppable. The huge amounts of products made from petroleum ensure its viability for the foreseeable future. The United States, however, has the obligation to determine its best course of action with this product and ensure that it’s done safely for the benefit of everyone involved.

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