When I was growing up, we had it constantly drilled into our heads how awful the 1970s had been because the U.S. was “dependent on foreign oil.” That was the (ostensible) reason for the energy conservation campaigns and government policies to encourage the switch to non-fossil fuels. I remember seeing statistics talking about how the world and/or U.S. (depending on the stat) only had “x years of oil left” at current rates of consumption.
I walk through the economics of this faulty mindset in the beginning of this speech on energy issues at the recent Mises University conference. But also check out this Bloomberg article from last month:
The U.S. will remain the world’s biggest oil producer this year after overtaking Saudi Arabia and Russia as extraction of energy from shale rock spurs the nation’s economic recovery, Bank of America Corp. said.
U.S. production of crude oil, along with liquids separated from natural gas, surpassed all other countries this year with daily output exceeding 11 million barrels in the first quarter, the bank said in a report today. The country became the world’s largest natural gas producer in 2010. The International Energy Agency said in June that the U.S. was the biggest producer of oil and natural gas liquids.
Oil extraction is soaring at shale formations in Texas and North Dakota as companies split rocks using high-pressure liquid, a process known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. The surge in supply combined with restrictions on exporting crude is curbing the price of West Texas Intermediate, America’s oil benchmark…
U.S. oil output will surge to 13.1 million barrels a day in 2019 and plateau thereafter, according to the IEA, a Paris-based adviser to 29 nations. The country will lose its top-producer ranking at the start of the 2030s, the agency said in its World Energy Outlook in November.
Here is EIA data on historical U.S. crude output, but be careful this just focuses on “crude” and not the broader category including all liquids:
Back in 1984, if someone had said that in 30 years the U.S. would be the world’s leader in crude production, why that would have been as ridiculous as claiming that the New York Times would talk about the president’s “secret kill list” without causing a revolution.