Jul 01, 2014 - 5:15pm

Records are Being Broken as America’s Oil Boom Spreads

Senior Editor, Digital Content


A crude oil well outside Watford City, North Dakota. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg.
A crude oil well outside Watford City, North Dakota. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg.

Thanks to hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, America is witnessing a gusher of domestic oil. One focal point is North Dakota, which recently hit a production milestone:

Oil production statistics released by the state’s Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) revealed that the state produced 1,002,445 barrels per day in April 2014, up from 793,832 the year before. The new statistics mean that North Dakota now joins the ranks of Texas, Alaska, California and Louisiana- the only states to ever generate more than one million barrels per day. (Texas is the only other one still producing that amount.)

North Dakota expects its production to climb: the DMR predicts oil production to peak at 1.5 million barrels per day around 2017.

This tracks a broader, national trend, as well: This year U.S. oil field production outpaced imports by about one million barrels a day.

The king of American oil production is still Texas, which topped the three-million barrels per day mark in April.


AEI chart: Texas oil production.
Source: Mark Perry, American Enterprise Institute.

Mark Perry at the American Enterprise Institute points out that “Texas would have been the 8th largest oil-producing nation in the world for crude oil output in December [2013] (most recent month available for international oil production data) at 2.82 million bpd – just slightly behind No. 7 Iraq at 2.92 million bpd.”

Together, North Dakota and Texas produced nearly half of all the oil in the United States.


EIA chart: Monthly crude oil production by state: April 2010-April 2014.
Source: Energy Information Administration.

This has led to impressive levels of economic growth in both states.

Let’s not forget successful shale exploration in Colorado:

Colorado energy companies produced nearly 64.1 million barrels of oil during 2013, breaking a record for full-year production that’s stood for nearly 60 years, according to state regulators.

The 2013 production also represents a 30 percent increase over the state’s 2012 production — and is more than double the amount of oil Colorado produced in 2008, according to the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC), which oversees the state’s multi-billion dollar industry.

However, Colorado's progress is at risk by potential moratoriums on hydraulic fracturing.

America is blessed to have the technological ability, entrepreneurship, and freedom to develop its energy abundance. If government can avoid erecting barriers to energy development, expect continued growth.

Follow Sean Hackbarth on Twitter at @seanhackbarth and the U.S. Chamber at @uschamber.

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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.