Carpe Diem

US oil output increased last week to the highest level since August 1992, more than 20 years ago


The Department of Energy reported today that the US produced an average of 7.118 million barrels of oil per day (bpd) during the week ending February 15, which was the highest level of domestic oil output since August 1992, more than 20 years ago (see chart above). Compared to a year ago, US oil output increased by 22.3% last week, marking the sixth straight week of annual increases in domestic oil production above 20%. In just the last 18 months, US oil output has increased by1.6 million bpd, from 5.5 million bpd in August 2011 to more than 7.1 million bpd last week. That increase of 1.6 million bpd in America’s oil output over the last 18 months would be the equivalent of adding Norway’s entire oil production (1.8 million bpd in October 2012) to the US oil supply.

MP: Thanks to the “revolutionary extraction technologies” of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, it’s taken less than five years to reverse a previous 16-year decline in US oil production. While US oil production gradually declined from 7.2 million bpd in 1992 to 5.0 million bpd in 2008, that 16-year decline was completely reversed in less than five years, as domestic oil production went above 7.1 million bpd last week for the first time in 20.5 years. That amazing, and unprecedented turnaround in America’s oil production in the last five years happened only because of the breakthrough drilling technologies that have accessed the oceans of oil trapped inside shale rock miles below the ground that were previously inaccessible with traditional extraction technologies. The impressive increases in US oil production in recent years are a tribute to the efforts of private investors and “petropreneurs” who have developed the revolutionary drilling technologies that were able to access shale oil, and in the process, create an energy revolution in America.

2 thoughts on “US oil output increased last week to the highest level since August 1992, more than 20 years ago

  1. Hmm. Vange-ina will be along shortly to pooh-pooh this news and ramble about the veil of deceit behind any positive news about hydrocarbon production. That simpleton will never cease his campaign of fear-mongering and teddy bear hugging.

    • I do not dispute the fact that production is increasing. I simply point out that capital destruction is not the positive that some make it out to be. Some were cheering shale gas as this wonderful thing even as the real world production data was showing that given the actual ultimate returns, rather than the imagined EURs that some were claiming, the producers were underestimating their depreciation costs and were overstating their returns. Now that the industry has admitted that gas is a loser some are simply shifting their focus on the new claims that shale oil is profitable. And while it is clear that a few wells in the core areas can be profitable it is a certainty that the average shale oil well isn’t. That makes shale a bubble just like housing and tech.

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