One of the more interesting items buried in today’s 213-page Monthly Energy Review from the EIA (full report here) is the fact that U.S. crude oil production for the lower 48 states is estimated to have reached a 23-year high in June of 5.74 million barrels per day (see chart above, data here). That would be the highest monthly crude oil production in the lower 48 states since the 5.76 million daily barrels of oil produced in June of 1989. During the first half of 2012, the EIA estimates that oil production in the non-Alaska states increased almost 13% compared to the same period last year, boosted by the strong, ongoing gains in North Dakota shale oil (+67% year-to-date through May) and Texas shale oil (+17% year-to-date through May).
Thanks to advances in technology (fracking and horizontal drilling), domestic oil output has been increasing since 2010, reversing a quarter-century downward trend in U.S. oil production that started in the mid-1980s (see chart above). Over the last year, we’ve seen one of the largest annual increases in domestic oil production (for the 48 states) in the history of monthly EIA data on U.S. oil production going back to 1973.
America’s booming energy sector, especially the increased production related to shale oil and gas, is America’s “economic bright spot” right now, and continues to get better and brighter all the time. As weak as economic growth is right now, imagine what the state of the current U.S. economy would be like if we didn’t have the booming oil and gas industry that is bringing energy prosperity and shovel-ready jobs to states like North Dakota, Texas and Pennsylvania. Without the game-changing, $1 billion daily energy stimulus to America, it’s possible that the U.S. economy would have entered another recession by now.