Tuesday 03 December, 2013

Oil Production

oil rig with pipesI think if the typical American citizen was asked which country is responsible for producing the largest amount of oil in the world, the most typical answer would probably be somewhere from halfway around the world.  These folks might be surprised to find out that United States is in fact surpassing Russia and all middle eastern countries as the world’s largest producer of oil and natural gas. In fact, the US is producing approximately 22 million barrels of oil every day to Russia’s 21.8 million.

As a result of its increased oil production, the US has cut natural gas imports by almost one-third and crude oil by fifteen percent, all within the last five years. If this trend continues it could mean a decrease or even the end of the US’s reliance on foreign oil. This would be the realization of a goal America has been working towards since the early 1970’s.

If this new reality seems surprising, it is. For two decades American oil production had been on a steady decrease. Where did this new surge of production come from? In one controversial word, fracking, formally known as hydraulic fracturing. Fracking is the process of pumping water and various chemicals into the ground in order to break up the shale rock and releasing any oil or gas trapped beneath. While hydraulic fracturing remains a hot topic across the country, there is no denying that it is a productive technique. It is being predicted that the US’s oil productivity will continue to increase and the cutting all foreign oil imports (other than from Canada) into the country may also become a reality by the end of the decade. This would mean immense economical and political gains for the US.

Although not widely publicized, Americans are actually already feeling the positive effects of the US production increase. Employment in the american oil industry has increased by forty percent over the last five years, adding over 160,000 jobs. In addition, the increase in production has helped to keep gas prices from increasing even more than they have over the past few years. International relations have also become more malleable with the US convincing Europe that sanctions against Iran would not increase worldwide oil prices or cause a shortage. These sanctions are one reason why Iran has been more open to talking about its nuclear program recently, hopefully making the world a safer place. With environmental concerns aside, the United States’ growing profile in the output of oil will mean great things for our country!

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