Recent headlines may have caught you by surprise: the United States is on track to once again be the top oil-producing nation in the world.
Just a few years ago, the pace of production growth we are now achieving would have been seen as highly unlikely if not downright impossible. However, the combination of high prices, new discoveries, and technology advances is generating a surge in U.S. production capacity.
Currently, Saudi Arabia supplies more oil than any other nation (about 11.6 million barrels per day — bpd) according to the Energy Information Administration, followed by the United States (10.9 million barrels each day) and Russia (10.3 million). From about 2004 until this year, Russia ranked second, but American production has now surpassed Russian capacity (which is hardly growing).
Since 2000, world production is up some 14 percent, from 77.7 million bpd to 88.7 million. During the same period, Saudi Arabian production rose by almost 23 percent, while the United States’ went up 20 percent and Russia’s jumped nearly 54percent.
However, looking at just the past five years (from 2007 to second quarter 2012), the story is quite different.
Global production was up 5 percent, with expansion of less than 5 percent for Russia, 13 percent for Saudi Arabia, and nearly 29 percent for the United States. If these relative growth rates are maintained, the United States stands to emerge as the top oil producer.