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U.S. Crude Production Outpaces Imports for First Time Since '95

Image: U.S. Crude Production Outpaces Imports for First Time Since '95 Oil drilling rig near Watford City, North Dakota.

Thursday, 14 Nov 2013 11:33 AM

By Melissa Clyne

For the first time since 1995, the United States last month produced more crude oil than it imported, and production last week rose to the highest level since March 1989, according to the Energy Information Administration, that collects and analyses energy data.

Imports averaged 7.6 million barrels per day while domestic production averaged 7.7 million barrels. Production has rebounded as a result of advancements in drilling methods that combine horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, allowing for oil previously trapped in shale rock to be tapped, The Washington Post reported.

The trend in production outpacing imports is expected to continue at least over the next decade.

Compared to a year ago, U.S. oil production is up by almost 20 percent, according to the American Enterprise Institute.

“Thanks to the booming shale-oil revolution taking place in states like North Dakota and Texas, oil production in 'Saudi America' has increased by more than 2 million barrels per day (and by 34.5 percent) in just the last two years, from 5.87 million barrels per day during the third week of October 2011 to 7.896 million barrels per day last week, and has completely reversed several decades of declining US oil output,” writes University of Michigan economics professor Mark J. Perry, an AEI scholar.

At a briefing Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said administration policies "like increased fuel-economy standards that cut oil consumption, cut carbon pollution, and cut consumer bills” had helped cut domestic consumption to help reduce oil imports.

The increased production has also led to a boon in oil company profits because more U.S. crude is being refined into diesel fuel and exported to meet heavy demand abroad.
Economists and members of the oil industry, however, criticized the White House for trying to take credit for the swell in domestic oil production.

"Credit for the rise in American energy production goes to the men and women working every day to develop oil and natural gas here at home," Kyle Isakower of the American Petroleum Institute said in a statement rebutting Carney's statement. “Domestic oil and natural gas production is only on the rise thanks to development on state and private lands."

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