Crude Oil Production; The Shale Revolution Takes A Hill and Dominates

Tom Shepstone
Shepstone Management Company, Inc.


A single graph of U.S. crude oil production suffices to show the sheer magnitude and beauty of the shale revolution, which has given us energy dominance.

It is stunning. When you look at a graph depicting crude oil production in these United States and, unlike the vacuous AOC, you’re old enough to remember our gas lines, the odd and even days, our captivity at the hands of Arabian oil states and all that, you are just shocked to see what the shale revolution has done for. It looks impossible in retrospect and, yet, it has happened. We have, to use the silly terminology of the Obama era, not only “bent the curve” upward but have turned it upside down.

crude oil production

See what I mean? Here are the facts from the Energy Information Administration (emphasis added):

Annual U.S. crude oil production reached another record level at 12.23 million barrels per day (b/d) in 2019, 1.24 million b/d, or 11%, more than 2018 levels

In November 2019, monthly U.S. crude oil production averaged 12.86 million b/d, the most monthly crude oil production in U.S. history

U.S. crude oil production has increased significantly during the past 10 years, driven mainly by production from tight rock formations developed using horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing to extract hydrocarbons.

That’s “fracking”—the “shale revolution”—for those of your living in Manhattan, and here’s more:

Texas continues to produce more crude oil than any other state or region of the United States, accounting for 41% of the national total in 2019. Texas crude oil production averaged 5.07 million b/d in 2019 and reached a monthly record of 5.35 million b/d in December 2019. Texas’s production increase of almost 660,000 b/d in 2019—driven by significant growth within the Permian region in western Texas—was 53% of the total U.S. increase for the year. Texas crude oil production has grown by 3.9 million b/d, or 333%, since 2010.

Several other U.S. states or regions set production records in 2019. In addition to contributing to Texas’s record production year, the Permian region drove a 248,000 b/d, or 36%, crude oil production increase in New Mexico. This increase was the second-largest state-level growth in 2019 and accounted for 20% of the total U.S. increase. In 2019, New Mexico set a new oil production record for the third consecutive year, growing by 749,000 b/d since 2010.

In the Offshore Federal Gulf of Mexico (the U.S. controlled waters in the Gulf of Mexico), new projects contributed to the region’s growth in production in 2019. Oil and natural gas producers brought online seven new projects in 2019, and EIA expects nine more will come online in 2020. The Offshore Federal Gulf of Mexico’s crude oil production grew by 126,000 b/d in 2019, leading to the area’s highest annual average production of 1.88 million b/d. The Offshore Federal Gulf of Mexico was the second-largest crude oil producing region in the United States in 2019.

Colorado and North Dakota also set record production levels in 2019 of about 514,000 b/d and 1.4 million b/d, respectively. The Niobrara shale formation drove production increases in Colorado, and continued production in the Bakken region drove increases in North Dakota. Production in Oklahoma increased by 32,000 b/d in 2019 but did not surpass Oklahoma’s record production of 613,000 b/d set in 1967.

Increases in these states and regions more than offset production declines elsewhere. Alaska’s crude oil production decreased for the second year in a row, and California’s production declined for the fifth year in a row.

In its latest Short-Term Energy Outlook, EIA forecasts U.S. crude oil production will continue to increase in 2020 to an average of 13.2 million b/d and to 13.6 million b/d in 2021. Most of the expected production growth will occur in the Permian region of Texas and New Mexico.

Don’t you love it? Sadly Alaska has been held back by decades of Federal incompetence and slavish refusal to offend environmental extremists. The same applies to theState of California, once a free country but now an empire of environmental exactitude.

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Crude Oil Production; The Shale Revolution Takes A Hill and Dominates