U.S. is No.1 Oil Producer

CBJ — According to estimates the United States has reclaimed the title of the world’s biggest oil producer sooner than expected, surpassing Russia after June after having past Saudi Arabia earlier in the year.

If those estimates prove correct it would be the first time since 1973 that the U.S. has led the world in output.

American production has skyrocketed in recent years because of techniques including hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” which is the use of chemicals, sand, water and high pressure to crack rock formations deep below ground, releasing more oil and natural gas. U.S. companies opted to do this once OPEC oil prices continued to go higher and higher. Even although fracking techniques are more expensive, it became the better option once oil prices moved well beyond $100 per barrel.

Fracking is controversial but it is driving a drilling boom in the Permian Basin under Texas and New Mexico.

The U.S. energy agency estimated that the United States produced an average of 10.9 million barrels a day in August, compared with about 10.8 million barrels a day by Russia and around 10.4 million from Saudi Arabia.