Crude oil production in the United States is rising at the fastest rate in history, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said recently, as the shale oil revolution pushes output toward a 20-year high this year.
U.S. production will rise by more than 13 percent to 6.4 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2012, the EIA said in its monthly “Short-Term Energy Outlook.”
The 760,000 bpd rise should be the largest rise in annual output since the beginning of U.S. commercial crude oil production in 1859, the EIA said. The rapid increase underscores how improvements in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing technology – commonly referred to as fracking – have transformed the United States energy market in the last five years.
“Increased drilling activity from tight shale formations in North Dakota, Montana and Texas will boost U.S. crude oil production above 7 million bpd this year for the first time since 1992,” said EIA head, Adam Sieminski. He also added that the previous largest annual increase in U.S. oil production had been a 751,000 bpd rise in 1951, when the U.S. pumped more than 50 percent of the world’s oil, compared with less than 8 percent today.