U.S. oil and gas yield will beat peak by 2020, research projects

The United States is on track to beat its previous peak production of oil, natural gas and natural gas liquids, according to an analysis by consulting firm PFC Energy.

The analysis projects that the United States will become the world’s top producer of those fossil fuels by 2020. Though Saudi Arabia will continue surpass it in oil production, the United States’ booming shale gas business will make it the global leader in well-borne fossil fuels, according to PFC Energy.

Domestic energy production has declined since the early 1970s, when the United States peaked at about 22 million barrels of oil, natural gas and natural gas liquids per year, the analysis noted. About 45 percent of the product was oil and 43 percent was natural gas.

The United States is poised to hit 22 million barrels of oil equivalent  again in 2020. But natural gas will make up the majority of energy produced – about 58 percent, according to PFC Energy.

In September Bentek Energy predicted that combined Canadian and U.S. oil production would reach an all-time high by 2016.

The analysis attributes most of the growth in natural gas to shale formations in Texas, Louisiana and the Northeast. Technology improvements, including hydraulic fracturing, have allowed energy companies to access oil and natural gas from shale rock that was once too complex to access economically.

Shale will also increase production of oil and natural gas liquids, the report noted. PFC Energy projects that by 2020, more U.S.-produced oil and liquids will come from shale than from the Gulf of Mexico.