U.S. oil output rises to highest level since July 1992

U.S. oil production last week rose to the highest level since July 1992, buoyed by increased drilling in oilfields including North Dakota’s Bakken shale and the Eagle Ford in Texas.

Output climbed 66,000 barrels a day, or 0.9 percent, to 7.159 million in the seven days ended March 8, the Energy Information Administration said today, extending a gain of more than 1.13 million barrels a day last year, according to data from the Energy Information Administration, a division of the Energy Department.

“Drilling is getting more efficient and there’s more infrastructure coming online to let the oil flow,” said Andy Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates LLC, a Houston-based consulting firm.

West Texas Intermediate futures for April delivery rose 59 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $93.13 a barrel at 11:25 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices have advanced 1.4 percent so far this year.

Production could increase to as much as 7.7 million barrels a day by the end of the year, Lipow said.

Domestic crude output will average 7.31 million barrels a day in 2013 and 7.88 million in 2014, the EIA forecast yesterday in its Short-Term Energy Outlook.

The U.S. met 84 percent of its own energy needs in the first 11 months of last year, on pace to be the highest level since 1991, EIA data show.