Since the 2008 recession, U.S. oil production has come roaring back. As 2013 opened, the United States topped seven million barrels per day in production for the first time in nearly 20 years. This is largely thanks to a development in technologies like fracking as well as more pipelines distributing the energy resource around the nation. Experts now predict that the United States will top Saudi Arabia’s oil production by 2020. That would make the United States both the largest producer and consumer of this fossil fuel in the world [for more crude oil news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has become tremendously popular in the United States and Canada over the past couple of years. By pumping pressurized fluid into a wellbore the process enables companies to extract previously inaccessible hydrocarbons. The result has been a natural gas bonanza in many parts of the U.S., particularly in shale regions like the Barnett Shale Basin in Texas and the Bakken Formation in North Dakota, as well as in parts of Canada [for more fracking news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
The past few weeks have been rough on crude oil, as the massive commodity has been seeing a major decline in price. But with a sudden drop, this fossil fuel may be offering in a nice entry point to investors looking to add some energy exposure to their portfolio. Since peaking in mid-September, crude has suffered losses of nearly 14%, as market turmoil has led to a healthy sell-off. Much of the speculation was sparked by the uncertainty over the presidential election and which candidate would come out on top [for more crude oil news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
The $6 trillion global energy industry has undergone a lot of changes over its long history, from the first successful oil tanker developed by Sweden in 1878 to the first mobile steel barges for offshore drilling developed by the Texas Company in the early 1930s. But, in the modern era, hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) stands out as the single most important innovation [for more fracking news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
Saudi Arabia has long been known as the world’s most dominant producer of crude oil, as the Middle East is rich with deposits of this fossil fuel. But the growth and rapid development of U.S. crude output has us on pace to dethrone Saudi Arabia in the not-so-distant future. We are currently on pace to average 10.9 million barrels per day for 2012, marking a 7% growth from the prior year and the largest single year jump since 1951 [for more crude oil news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].