The current domestic drilling boom has brought plenty of jobs, traffic and concerns about pollution and sustainability. It’s also put the U.S. in a position that was unimaginable a decade ago: this year, the U.S. will be the number one producer of oil and gas, according to the federal Energy Information Administration (EIA).
“Since 2008, U.S. petroleum production has increased 7 quadrillion Btu, with dramatic growth in Texas and North Dakota. Natural gas production has increased by 3 quadrillion Btu over the same period, with much of this growth coming from the eastern United States,” the EIA says in an analysis today. Production has also been up for Russia and Saudi Arabia, but not nearly the same amount. The U.S. and Russia had been neck and neck for the past few years; this year, the U.S. struck a clear lead in fossil fuel production.
The increase in domestic production is due largely in part to the use of drilling techniques like hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” and horizontal drilling. Those methods — largely proven viable in Texas — have allowed large domestic deposits of oil and gas to be reached. Texas has taken the lead in that domestic production, and is projected to continue to do so.