In another milestone for America’s shale revolution, the amount of domestic crude oil produced last week at 7.82 million barrels per day (bpd) exceeded weekly net imports of 7.52 million bpd by 304,000 barrels, according to data released yesterday by the Energy Information Administration (see chart above). There have only been two weeks since early 1997 that US crude oil production exceeded weekly imports, once in May this year by 80,000 bpd and now last week by 304,000 bpd.
As the chart above shows, US oil imports exceeded US crude oil production by 5 million bpd throughout most of 2008 when imports averaged about 10 million bpd and domestic production was about 5 million bpd. By early 2012, domestic oil production increased to 6 million bpd, but was still about 3 million bpd below oil imports of 9 million. In 2013 so far, net oil imports have fallen to an average of 7.78 million bpd and stabilized, while US crude oil production, thanks to a bonanza of shale oil in Texas and North Dakota, continues on an upward trajectory and reached the highest level last week at 7.82 million bpd in more than 24 years. The most recent forecast from the EIA projects that US crude oil production will average 7.5 million bpd in 2013 and rise by 12% to 8.4 million bpd in 2014. In that case, the important milestone reached last week of domestic oil output exceeding oil imports by 304,000 bpd will become commonplace and will likely take place on a regular basis throughout the rest of this year and into next year.
Bottom Line: America’s shale revolution has delivered a powerful energy-based economic stimulus to the nation’s economy, bringing jobs, economic growth, and increased prosperity to the US. In addition to the economic benefits, shale-gas production has helped the environment by reducing CO2 emissions in the United States, which hit an 18-year low last year for total emissions, and fell to almost a 50-year low on a per-capita basis. Further, increased production of US shale oil has allowed the country to decrease its dependence on foreign sources of oil and contributed to America’s increased energy self-sufficiency as the milestone above illustrates. Thanks to the sharp increases in the production of domestic shale oil and gas, America produced more than 90% of all energy consumed during the month of May (most recent month available), which was the most “energy self-sufficient” the US has been in any single month since September 1987, almost 26 years ago.
Add it all up. America’s shale energy bonanza has been a real godsend for the US economy, its environment, and the nation’s energy security.