North Dakota’s recent groundbreaking on the newest American-based oil refinery since the 1970s has ushered in a new era of American oil independence, according to oil and market analysts.
As reported by Bloomberg, U.S. domestic oil output grew by a record amount of 766,000 barrels a day and marks the highest level of the past 15 years. In just eight years, the U.S. is set to surpass Saudi Arabia as the world’s leading oil producer, which could signal a new era of energy independence.
Also, imports have fallen by at least 38% since their peak in 2005, now accounting for only 41% of the nation’s oil demand.
The U.S. Department of Energy’s December 2012 report sheds light on some interesting developments. The U.S. is now producing up to 6.41 million barrels of oil per day, which represents a 14% increase since 2011. Over 1,400 oil rigs were set up in the past year to extract the famous “black gold” resource, and courthouses have been flooded by companies and corporations seeking to cash in on this energy boom.
But how did the North Dakota oil boom start? After Continental Resources, Inc. built a well in the state, they began to extract the oil through fracking. Fracking, which is short for hydraulic fracturing, is a process used to extract natural gas or oil out of the earth after fracturing rocks beneath the surface of the earth using chemicals and other fluids injected through high pressure.
Human Events reported that by placing oil wells above the Bakken shale formation, oil corporations have access to up to 45 billion barrels of oil. By comparison, the country of Nigeria, an OPEC member, has access to about 37 billion barrels of oil.
What is the reason for the sudden change? In a word, fracking. Fracking certainly has its detractors, but local residents have overwhelmingly supported these efforts, because they have saved their rural farming communities in places like New York and Pennsylvania. Now, as you look around the green countryside of Pennsylvania, you see an oil rig, or two, that is sustaining the struggling farming economy.
Fracking has revolutionized oil extraction. It has led to a boom in U.S. domestic oil extraction and production. Oil corporations are shifting to fracking in order to cash in on this new and lucrative energy boom—and it is a shift we should support in our push toward energy independence.