Trending well: US is producing more oil than ever

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Trending well

America’s fossil fuel industry is booming

Indeed, while clean energy policies (or, perhaps, a lack thereof) are debated ahead of November’s election, one quiet fact has gone relatively under the radar: no country in the history of our planet has pulled crude oil out of the ground at the pace of the United States over the last 6 years.

Data released by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Monday finds that the US produced the equivalent of 12.9 million barrels of crude oil and condensate per day last year, 28% more than the world’s previous top producer, Russia, and 33% more than even the oil-rich Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Reversing the flow

The modern petroleum industry can trace its roots — or wells — back to the 1850s when Edwin Drake dug a ~70 foot oil hole in Pennsylvania and started pumping up to 20 barrels a day of what would come to be known as black gold. But, despite getting a head start on much of the rest of the world, the US was a tiny player in global oil for much of the latter half of the 20th century.

Indeed, were you to transport someone from the oil-importing heyday of the year 2000 to the present day, they’d scarcely believe that the US had become a net exporter of oil (chart here), let alone become the dominant force in a market that — despite the best efforts of renewable scientists — remains the most important global energy source.

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