Apr 08, 2015 - 4:45pm

America's Successful Oil and Natural Gas Boom in 5 Charts

Senior Editor, Digital Content


An oil pump jack near Corpus Christi, Texas.
An oil pump jack near Corpus Christi, Texas.

The Wall Street Journal’s Holman Jenkins recently speculated that without hydraulic fracturing and the energy boom it has driven, “Western economies would likely be in free fall. The grudging U.S. recovery would be in retreat.”

We’ve seen a dramatic shift in how we look at energy. When once we worried about ever-increasing oil imports from unfriendly regions of the world, we now have begun discussing the efficacy of exporting U.S. crude oil.

It might be helpful to take a look at the state of American petroleum development with a few charts.

1. The U.S. is the King of Hydrocarbons.

The Energy Information Administration concludes that for the third-straight year, the United States produced more oil and natural gas than any other country in the world.


EIA: Top petroleum-producing countries in 2014.
Source: Energy Information Administration.

2. 2014 Was a Record Year in U.S. Oil Production Growth.

U.S. oil production rose by 1.2 million barrels per day (mbb/d) to 8.7 mbb/d, the most since records began being kept in 1900.


EIA: Change in U.S. field production of crude oil (1960-2014).
Source: Energy Information Administration.

3. The States Ranked by Oil Production.

The top five oil producers are Texas, North Dakota, California, Alaska, and Oklahoma. 

If the federal offshore areas in the Gulf of Mexico were counted at its own state it would rank #2 (1396 Mbb/d).

4. Hydraulic Fracturing is Getting More Efficient.

In most of the major shale plays, the amount of oil and natural gas produced per rig is rising. Energy producers are improving hydraulic fracturing techniques and using new technologies to get more energy out of the ground.

At the same time, we are getting more energy with a reduced environmental impact. As natural gas production has increased, methane leakage from natural gas rigs—a brickbat of hydraulic fracturing opponents—has fallen

5. Faster Job Growth in the Energy Sector.

Besides more energy for consumers, the most tangible benefit from the shale boom has been job creation. The oil and natural gas industry supports 9.8 million jobs, and job growth in the sector has been faster than the economy as a whole.

All this is happening with an administration that refuses to embrace the domestic energy wealth we have. Imagine what can be accomplished if we have better energy policies in place? Like avoiding duplicative federal regulations on hydraulic fracturing or expanding offshore energy development.

We've only scratched the surface of what America’s energy renaissance can be.

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About the Author

About the Author

Sean Hackbarth
Senior Editor, Digital Content

Sean writes about public policies affecting businesses including energy, health care, and regulations. When not battling those making it harder for free enterprise to succeed, he raves about all things Wisconsin (his home state) and religiously follows the Green Bay Packers.