US to become world’s top oil and gas producer this year

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The United States will pass Saudi Arabia and Russia to become the world’s top oil and gas producer this year, according to a government report released Friday.

Led by oil booms in Texas and North Dakota, the nation’s crude oil production hit 7.5 million barrels per day in July, a 45 percent jump over July 2008. The United States produced 2.5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in July, a 16 percent jump from five years, boosted largely by shale gas production in the Northeast, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Growth in petroleum output from Saudi Arabia and Russia has been very modest by comparison.

Permian Basin: Two West Texas plays poised for surge in production, investment

Innovations in drilling and fossil fuel production have opened new regions of the United States to oil and natural gas activity in recent years. Advancements in the technologies of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing made oil and gas production from deep, dense shale rock economic for producers, unleashing a new wealth of oil and gas on the energy-hungry nation.

In 2013, the United States is projected to produce nearly 50 quadrillion British thermal units of petroleum and natural gas, beating out No. 2 producer Russia by about 5 quadrillion British thermal units, the EIA said.

The boom is expected to continue. Analysts at investment banking firm Jefferies & Co. expect Texas’ prolific Eagle Ford Shale to reach oil production of 1 million barrels per day by next summer and soar to 1.8 million barrels per day by 2022.

However, Americans still consume far more fossil fuels than they produce. The United States used about 95 quadrillion British thermal units of energy in 2012, according to EIA data. Still, the surge in domestic oil and gas has affected the nation’s trade deficit.

The United States’ natural gas imports plummeted 21 percent between 2008 and 2012, while imports of crude oil and petroleum products fell 18 percent.


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