New drilling techniques extract oil and gas from US shale rock formations, putting the country’s output at 25 million barrels per day
The US was on pace to achieve global energy domination on Friday, overtaking Russia and Saudi Arabia as the world’s top oil and natural gas producer.
New estimates released on Friday by the Energy Information Administration showed America pulling ahead of both countries in oil and natural gas production for 2013.
The rise to the top was fuelled by new drilling techniques, such as horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, which have unlocked vast quantities of oil and gas from shale rock formations – especially in North Dakota and Texas.
America was on track to produce just under 25m barrels a day of oil, natural gas and related fuels, the EIA said. Russia was just under 22m barrels a day.
America had already surpassed Russia in natural gas production last year, pulling ahead for the first time since 1982.
But this was the first year the US was on pace to surpass Russia in production of both oil and natural gas.
“Total petroleum and natural gas hydrocarbon production estimates for the United States and Russia for 2011 and 2012 were roughly equivalent — within 1 quadrillion Btu of one another,” the EIA said. “In 2013, however, the production estimates widen out, with the United States expected to outproduce Russia by five quadrillion Btu,” the agency said.
Most of the new oil was coming from the western states. Oil production in Texas has more than doubled since 2010. In North Dakota, it has tripled, and Oklahoma, New Mexico, Wyoming, Colorado and Utah have also shown steep rises in oil production over the same three years, according to EIA data.
But the EIA said the new natural gas production was coming from across the eastern United States.
Russia is believed to hold one of the world’s largest oil-bearing shale formations. But the industry has lagged behind America in its embrace of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing to get at the oil and gas.
Meanwhile, energy firms are stepping up production from North Dakota and Texas. Earlier reports from the EIA suggests the trend will continue. The EIA said earlier that US crude oil production rose to an average of 7.6m barrels a day in August, the highest monthly totals since 1989.
It forecast total oil production would average 7.5m barrels a day throughout the year, rising to 8.4m barrels a day in 2014.