A new Energy Information Administration report estimates that the US will end 2013 as the world’s largest producer of petroleum and natural gas, with a combined production of 25 million barrels of oil a day. The production calculations reflect the amount of crude oil, natural gas liquid condensates, and biofuels harvested.
Image © Derrick Coetzee
The US and Russia have been roughly equal in terms of production since 2008, but thanks to a boom in fracking over the past five years, America has finally pulled ahead. Not everyone is going to be happy about this news: while the increased production will give the US greater energy independence, fracking remains controversial.
A recent Pew Research Center study showed that not only are about half of all Americans completely unaware of the increase in US energy production, but a solid 49% of the US public is opposed to the increased use of fracking throughout the US.
Fracking has the potential to contaminate surface, ground, and drinking water. Research has shown that in some cases, fracking can result in the release of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. It’s also an incredibly wasteful process, using vast amounts of water in order to extract gas and oil. Due to environmental concerns and public pressure, it’s not clear how long the current US energy boom will last.
Lead image © Jonathon Wheeler