Oil production in US skyrockets
This is one of those articles that, after your read it, your eyes are bugging out of your head.
An incredible oil boom is underway, destroying the government's measely estimates for production and getting the US to the point where we will soon challenge Saudi Arabia for the world's biggest producer.
The United States' rapidly declining crude oil supply has made a stunning about-face, shredding federal oil projections and putting energy independence in sight of some analyst forecasts.
After declining to levels not seen since the 1940s, U.S. crude production began rising again in 2009. Drilling rigs have rushed into the nation's oil fields, suggesting a surge in domestic crude is on the horizon.
The number of rigs in U.S. oil fields has more than quadrupled in the past three years to 1,272, according to the Baker Hughes rig count. Including those in natural gas fields, the United States now has more rigs at work than the entire rest of the world.
"It's staggering," said Marshall Adkins, who directs energy research for the financial services firm Raymond James. "If we continue growing anywhere near that pace and keep squeezing demand out of the system, that puts you in a world where we are not importing oil in 10 years."
Peak oil? Not hardly.
Last month, the U.S. Energy Information Administration upgraded its forecast of crude production in 2025 to 6.4 million barrels per day - 1 million barrels more than were pumped in 2010.
Previously, the EIA had projected the U.S. would peak at 6 million barrels in 2022.
"The growth that we've seen in shale, that's one of the biggest changes that's contributing to our outlook," said Dana Van-Wagener, a research analyst for the agency. "It's evolving so quickly. We weren't anticipating enough growth."
That's nothing. By 2015, production will reach an astonishing 9 million barrels a day. This is after the official government estimate proclaimed oil production in the US would peak at 6 million barrels a day next year.
As technology has improved and made it possible to access fields that were previously untapped - and as the price of oil makes tapping those hard to reach places profitable - we see once again the folly of those who are constantly predicting that the world is "running out" of oil. No doubt finding alternatives is a good idea on its own and technological breakthroughs that will make those alternatives competitive with fossil fuels will be even more beneficial (as long as we can resist the temptation to subsidize them with tax dollars).
But for the near future, man's need for energy means that oil will still be the lifeblood of civilization.