U.S. Crude Oil Production Smashes Records

Published May 15, 2018

U.S. crude oil production, led by record output in Texas and North Dakota, shattered a 47-years old record in November 2017, easing off only slightly in December, according to a report by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) in the U.S. Department of Energy.

The reason for the record-breaking performance at the end of last year was due to oil production from shale, which continues to boost global supplies.

According to EIA, U.S. oil producers pumped 10.057 million barrels per day (bpd) in November 2017. Production fell by to 9.949 million bpd in December 2017.

November’s figure passed the previous record of 10.044 million barrels produced daily set in in November 1970. Because of the shale boom the past several years, the United States has surpassed Saudi Arabia as a top oil producer.

More To Come

The EIA predicts domestic oil production to top 11 million bpd late this year.

Phillip Streible, a senior market strategist at RJO Futures in Chicago, told Reuters oil production in the United States should surpass the 11 million bpd mark even earlier than EIA predicts.

“We have a lot more oil to produce and we’ll break through the 11 million barrel-per-day threshold much sooner than expected,” Streible told Reuters on February 28.

Shale deposits in Texas and North Dakota have been responsible for most of the rising production as output there rose sharply around 2000 due to new techniques involving hydraulic fracturing. The fracking revolution has allowed drillers to extract vast amounts of crude from oil fields which were once considered played out.

As a result of this new crude output, U.S. oil imports have been reduced by more than 20 percent during the past decade while oil imports have increased.

Peak Oil Finished

The record-breaking performance of U.S. crude oil producers should put an end to the notion we are on a downward arc for producing energy, says Robert L. Bradley, Jr., CEO and founder of the Institute for Energy Research.

“The happy facts of US oil resources — with new records being set by the month — is a powerful refutation of the peak oil consensus of academic scientists and anti-fossil-fuel environmentalists,” Bradley said. “Two classic market failure arguments against U.S. oil are being refuted before our very eyes: depletion and energy insecurity.

“As it turns out, government intervention was the failure, not markets,” said Bradley. “Fossil fuels are becoming more sustainable, not less, as judged by abundance, affordability, and reliability.”

Kenneth Artz ([email protected]) writes from Dallas, Texas.