The Energy Information Agency reports that 2011 was the best year the country has had for oil production since the late 1990s. The biggest reason for that turnaround is a surge in drilling in Texas and North Dakota shale oil fields, according to a recent report by National Public Radio.
NPR reported that increased oil production in the United States has helped drive crude oil to its lowest price since last fall. "The U.S. Energy Information Agency says oil production in the country jumped 6 percent from October to March," the network reported. "The country is pumping out more crude each day than it has since the late 1990s."
The biggest reason for the increase in production is the new success companies are having getting oil out of shale rock formations, like the Eagle Ford in Texas and Bakken in North Dakota, the report stated.
Amy Myers Jaffe, an energy expert at Rice University, called the change in U.S. production "transformative" and predicted that shale oil will bring about a renaissance of oil production in the United States that will keep reducing the country's dependence on foreign oil.
Energy analyst Kevin Book told NPR that the size of the oil reserves in North Dakota came as a surprise. "The potential is tremendous," he said. "Because one thing we know about shale is that it's basically everywhere." Ohio, California and Florida are other states that could join the new oil boom, according to NPR.
Click here to listen to the NPR report or read a transcript.