If current surging production levels continue, it might not be long before the US replaces Saudi Arabia as the world’s leading oil producer. According to reports, the US is currently on track to boost its liquid hydrocarbon output by 7% this year, bringing production levels up to 10.9 million bpd.
In a series of events that would have been considered almost impossible a few years ago, this 7% rise in production will mark the fourth consecutive year of US crude output increases and the single largest year-on-year increase since 1951.
The US Department of Energy has predicted that if the current levels of production growth continue, the US will be producing 11.4 million bpd (just below Saudi Arabia's current production of 11.6 million bpd) by 2013, and 13 – 15 million bpd by 2020
The unprecedented turnaround in fortunes for the production of oil in the US is linked to three major factors: the current high price of oil; developments in hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling that have seen vast, previously unexploitable hydrocarbon reserves suddenly become viable; and the record low prices for natural gas that have seen many companies switch to oil production.
Despite not having dropped prices at the pump, the production boom is certainly helping the US economy in other ways: the O&G industry already employs 1.7 million people in the US and looks set to add an additional 1.3 million people by the end of the decade. Economist, Philip Verleger, was quoted as saying “It’s the most important change to the economy since the advent of personal computers pushed up productivity in the 1990s.”
Edited from various sources by David Bizley