The research firm Rystad energy has released a report indicating that the US might be the world’s new leading oil producer in 2018. This is because the oil production in the country will shoot up by 10% to about 11 million barrels in per day. The reason: Fracking.
This is a spot that the US has never been in since 1975, with Russia and Saudi Arabia always taking the lead as the top oil producers in the world. This can be stated an achievement of the Fracking technology used in the oil exploration.
Fracking: A Blessing for Oil Production
The widespread use of Fracking is reshaping the global energy set-up. Up from just being responsible for the 2% of oil production in the U.S in 2000, currently, it accounts for more than 50%. This is because the technology has created a way through which shale deposits can be drilled deeper, reaching all the deposits and expanding the U.S oil production.
The rise of Fracking has been massive with a growth from 102,000 barrels in 23,000 Fracking wells in 2000 to the current 4.3 million barrels a day in 300,000 Fracking wells. This is the fastest oil production growth in the history of the US.
The US is the World’s Leading Oil Producer
Earlier studies had indicated that oil and gas production would go down, as it was believed that the oil wells have a short life after hydraulic fracturing. The more the drilling in the wells, the faster the depletion of the available gas and oil. Well, with the Fracking technology, that seems to be history. The industry’s fear of needing newer wells in order to keep production alive is dealt with as producers find new ways on how to get more out of the already existing wells and formations.
The US becoming the world’s top oil producer means that they can keep the prices low for consumers. The current oil production surge has kept the oil prices at the current $100 per barrel, as opposed to the $150 that it otherwise would rise to, minus the surplus production. If this is anything to go by, the US reduces global oil spending by around $4.9 billion in a day.
Reports by Energy Information Administration (EIA) shows that the increased oil production is set to keep on until 2035 with the US producing around 13 million barrels per day. This will reduce oil imports to the country, reaching zero by 2040.
How Fracking Works and Environmental impacts
The Fracking method is where a mixture of water and sand is put on high pressure against a rock formation until it fractures. The sand enters the fractures forcing the crude oil out of it
Fracking had to face opposition from environmentalists early on, claiming that Fracking operations emanate too much noise, require too much light, and may cause earthquakes. The industrial equipment used in the process release smog, organic compounds, and benzene into the environment. The chemically contaminated water released from the drills can, at times, mix with drinking water which is harmful.
Most of these concerns have been addressed with the state forming regulations on Fracking not set around residential areas. They are to be installed at least 5,000 feet away from schools, nature reserves or parks. Residents in the areas are allowed to launch complaints at the local, state or federal level about the dangers of fracking.
At the moment, Fracking is the future of oil production, with President Donald Trump throwing his weight behind it, as he claims that it is ushering in the new age of American oil dominance.
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