US oil production hits 20-year high

03 01, 2013 by The Hill E2 Wire

Average daily crude oil production in the United States hit a 20-year high during November and December 2012, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Increased output from North Dakota and Texas pushed daily production to more than 7 million barrels per day, the highest mark since December 1992.

Most of the nation’s oil-and-gas boom is occurring on private and state lands, giving places like North Dakota an economic boost.

Industry groups and congressional Republicans want President Obama to open more federal lands to oil-and-gas development. They say doing so would enhance federal revenues while also spurring economic activity.

They have pointed to examples like North Dakota’s Bakken formation as a reason to expand drilling access on federal lands. Drilling proponents say the recent boom has occurred in spite of the president’s policies, not because of them.

But Obama has said oil-and-gas production has been rising under his watch, and has given no indication that he plans to open more federal lands to drilling.

The energy agency said the domestic spike is coming from shale and other tight rock formations, where hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has sparked the increase.

The drilling method injects a high-pressure mixture of water, chemicals and sand into the rocks to tap hydrocarbons buried deep underground.

Environmentalists worry the practice contaminates drinking water, while industry contends it’s safe.