U.S. Now Leads the World in Oil and Gas Production

Tuesday, October 08, 2013
(graphic: U.S. Energy Information Administration)

Move over Russia, there’s a new leader in petroleum and natural gas production: the United States.

 

As of this year, the U.S. surpassed Russia as the world’s largest producer of oil and natural gas.

 

Adam Sieminski, head of the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), called the news “a remarkable turn of events.”

 

“This is a new era of thinking about market conditions, and opportunities created by these conditions, that you wouldn’t in a million years have dreamed about,” Sieminski told The Wall Street Journal.

 

America’s ascendance as an energy king has been several years in the making, as U.S. companies’ embrace of hydraulic fracturing (or fracking) to tap into shale-rock formations has opened up new supplies of oil and natural gas.

 

U.S. oil production has increased seven quadrillion Btu (British thermal units) since 2008, according to the EIA. Drillers in Texas and North Dakota have been especially productive during this span.

 

Natural gas production also has gone up, by three quadrillion Btu over the same period, with much of the growth coming from the eastern portion of the country.

 

The changing of the energy guard also was a result of Russia struggling to maintain its energy output and its reluctance to embrace fracking.

 

“Russia’s exports have been crimped by rising competition and the economic slump in Europe,” the Journal’s Russell Gold and Daniel Gilbert wrote. “Russia forecasts that its gas production will increase slightly in coming years, but its forecast for this year is below current U.S. production.”

 

In contrast to the U.S. expansion, Russia increased its combined hydrocarbon output by about one quadrillion Btu over the past five years, as did Saudi Arabia in third place.

-Noel Brinkerhoff

 

To Learn More:

U.S. Expected to Be Largest Producer of Petroleum and Natural Gas Hydrocarbons in 2013 (U.S. Energy Information Administration)

U.S. Is Overtaking Russia as Largest Oil-and-Gas Producer (by Russell Gold and Daniel Gilbert, Wall Street Journal)

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