Energy and Environment Reporting for Texas

Rising US Crude Oil Production Buffers Prices From Mideast Violence

An oil rig south of Pyote, Texas, December 11, 2013.

Courtesy of Alice Quinlan

An oil rig south of Pyote, Texas, December 11, 2013.

Crude oil is now trading at roughly $13 a barrel less than it did a year ago. That’s in spite of the seizure of Iraqi and Syrian oil facilities by ISIS and a U.S.-led bombing campaign against those facilities.

“The beginning of the bombing campaign in Syria and Iraq recently was met with a big yawn by the energy markets and really had no upward effect at all on crude oil prices,” says economist Karr Ingham, creator of the Texas Petro Index on behalf of the Texas Alliance of Energy Producers.

According to the latest index, the state’s crude oil production approached 96 million barrels in August, up more than 23 percent from August of last year. Ingham suspects the rise in U.S. production is helping to hold down prices and stabilize energy markets. “Don’t you wonder if we are not seeing the benefits of expanded crude oil production in North America playing out before our very eyes?” he says. “I wonder if that’s not exactly what we’re seeing. I certainly hope that’s the case. This may in part be what energy independence looks like.”

The U.S. still imports a little more than 30 percent of the crude oil it consumes, but Ingham notes that’s less than half as much as the country imported just eight years ago.


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