3 Energy Milestones of Shale Energy Boom

Nov 15, 2013

An oil pumping unit on a hill overlooking Williston, North Dakota. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg.

This week, we learned about three impressive feats for American energy that are a result of the shale energy boom. 

First, USA Today reports that in October, the United States produced more domestic oil than it imported for the first time since 1995.  

Second, the Energy Information Administration reports that in the week ending November 8, the United States produced an average of almost 8 million barrels of oil a day, the most since January 1989. Mark Perry at the American Enterprise Institute writes, “Compared to a year ago, US oil production during the first week of November increased by almost 19%.”

Third, the Wall Street Journal reports that the Bakken region of North Dakota and Montana will hit the million-barrel per month production mark in December.

The White House is patting itself on the back.

It shouldn’t. These achievements have occurred despite federal energy policiesHere’s a Congressional Research Service chart showing the production changes on federal and non-federal lands:

USA Today quotes, the American Petroleum Institute's Kyle Isakower: "Domestic oil and natural gas production is only on the rise, thanks to development on state and private lands. In areas controlled by the federal government, production has actually fallen on President Obama's watch."

Hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling have made it possible to extract oil from places once technologically off-limits and are doing the same for natural gas in the Marcellus and Utica Shales and elsewhere.

Let's build on this improving energy security by 1) not imposing new federal regulations on hydraulic fracturing—the states are doing a fine job balancing environmental protection and energy development; and 2) opening up more federal land to development.


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