U.S. oil production — already the highest in the world — is on track to set a new record this year, and will probably rise even more in 2024.
U.S. oil production is forecast to average an all-time high of 12.8 million barrels a day this year and keep growing to 13.1 million in 2024, the federal Energy Information Administration said in its latest forecast. That’s up from the most recent trough of 5 million barrels a day in 2008, and probably enough to help the U.S. to keep its title as the No. 1 global crude oil producer.
The advent of fracking that kicked off the U.S. oil boom in the late 2000s raised hopes of a new era of so-called energy independence. In this scenario, the newly oil-rich United States could pull back from the Middle East, insulate itself from volatile market shifts and retreat into a comfortable shell of energy self-sufficiency.
The reality has been far different, said Ben Cahill, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
“People assumed [the shale boom] would bring a massive change in geopolitics and that this would fundamentally change the U.S. relationship with OPEC and we’d chart this path towards energy independence that would really upend energy geopolitics,” Cahill said in an interview. “That just hasn’t happened.
“We’re the largest oil producer in the world,” he said. “We’re the largest natural gas producer in the world. But the reality is that energy prices in the U.S. are still dependent on global markets.”
That’s because even as oil fields in states like Texas, New Mexico and North Dakota have propelled the United States to the top of the oil producer charts, regional markets still find it easier to import certain grades of crude oil from Canada, Mexico, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere. The U.S. still imports about 40 percent of the oil it consumes, even though exports of crude and petroleum products continue to outstrip those shipments.