In August, “total U.S. crude oil production averaged an estimated 8.6 million barrels per day,” which was “the highest monthly production since July 1986,” according to EIA's “Short Term Outlook,” which was released September 9th.
EIA expects domestic oil production to increase to an average 9.5 million barrels per day in 2015, which would be the highest level since before the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries’ (OPEC) oil embargo in 1973. At that time, the federal government placed a ban on exporting U.S.-produced oil abroad.
“If achieved, the 2015 forecast would be the highest annual average crude oil production since 1970,” the EIA forecast stated.
As a result, U.S. oil imports are expected to fall to just 21 percent of total domestic consumption in 2015, representing a 39 percent decrease over the past decade.
“The share of total U.S. petroleum and other liquids consumption met by net imports fell from 60% in 2005 to an average of 32% in 2013. EIA expects the net import share to decline to 21% in 2015, which would be the lowest level since 1968,” EIA reported.
Earlier this year, EIA’s Annual Energy Outlook predicted for the first time that the U.S. will be energy self-sufficient by 2037.
The surge in domestic oil production was made possible by horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing techniques that make it economically feasible to extract large volumes of oil and natural gas from low-permeable shale, sandstone and limestone formations in more than 30 states, including the well-known Bakken, Marcellus and Eagle Ford formations in South Dakota, Pennsylvania and Texas, according to EIA.
Last year, Time magazine senior editor Bryan Walsh noted in an article entitled “Peak Oil is Dead” that environmentalists’ previous assertions that the worldwide production of oil had already “peaked” and entered an irreversible decline was wrong.
“Oil isn’t likely to peak any time soon,” he wrote. “And that’s bad news for climate policy.”