By TENNILLE TRACY
WASHINGTON -- US crude-oil production reached its highest
level in nearly 15 years in September, thanks in large part to
the drilling method known as hydraulic fracturing, the US
Energy Information Administration said Tuesday.
Average daily production reached 6.5 million bbl, the EIA
said, an increase of about 900,000 bbl since September of last
Such statistics reflect the US's growing role as a dominant
energy producer. Earlier this year, the International Energy
Agency said the US could overtake Saudi Arabia as the world's
largest oil producer by 2020 - a trend that would transform
global energy markets as well as international politics.
The EIA is slated to come out with an early draft of its
annual report this week.
The revolution in US energy production is due mostly to the
controversial drilling method known as "fracking." When coupled
with horizontal drilling techniques, fracking has allowed
energy companies to tap into shale formations and release
pockets of oil and natural gas that were previously thought to
Lingering concerns over the drilling technique's safety,
especially with regard to its impact on drinking water, have
prompted regulators to consider drilling guidelines.
The degree to which the Obama administration can be credited
for recent production surge is often debated. Republicans say
the bulk of production increases take place on private and
state-owned lands where the federal government has no
President Barack Obama has said he welcomes increased oil
and natural-gas production, embracing what is known as an "all
of the above" approach to energy use and production.
The last time US production reached 6.5 million bbl was in
January 1998, the EIA said. This time around, the states with
the largest increases were Texas and North Dakota, where the
Bakken and Eagle Ford formations are.
The statistics on September were first released Thursday in
a petroleum-supply report.
Dow Jones Newswires