Some energy experts are predicting that the United States could overtake Saudi Arabia as the world's largest petroleum producer in coming years, according to a recent story on National Public Radio (NPR).
“By 2013, we'll probably be a little over 11 million barrels a day," Energy Information Administration (EIA) administrator Adam Sieminski told NPR. “That puts you pretty close to Saudi Arabia's production of more than 11 million barrels a day."
In 2011 the U.S. produced 5.66 million barrels of crude oil a day, according to EIA, which is part of the U.S. Department of Energy. By next year the agency projects that will increase 21 percent to 6.85 million barrels a day. Add in things like natural gas liquids, biofuels and processing gains at refineries and that number increases, NPR reported.
“It's very exciting," says Rayola Dougher, senior economic adviser for the American Petroleum Institute. “We spend a lot on importing crude from around the world that we may not have to in years ahead."
The research company IHS recently issued a report that shows unconventional oil and natural gas production in the U.S. is driving production higher while supporting 1.7 million jobs. The report projects that number will increase to 3 million jobs by 2020. “It's about blue-collar jobs. These are good jobs. The average wage for these jobs is about $35 an hour," says John Larson, IHS vice president for public sector consulting.
The new positions are in places like North Dakota, which is now the No. 2 producer of oil in the U.S. behind Texas. And the industry anticipates big expansion. “Ohio, for example, they have great potential to be a major oil producer in the United States," Dougher told NPR. She also points to promising shale plays in Texas, Louisiana, Alabama and Tennessee.
To read the NPR story or listen to it, please click here.