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United States Power

US Now Produces More Oil and Gas Than Russia and Saudi Arabia 416

Posted by samzenpus
from the black-gold dept.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Claudia Assis writes that the US will end 2013 as the world's largest producer of petroleum and natural gas, surpassing Russia and Saudi Arabia with the Energy Information Administration estimating that combined US petroleum and gas production this year will hit 50 quadrillion British thermal units, or 25 million barrels of oil equivalent a day, outproducing Russia by 5 quadrillion Btu. Most of the new oil was coming from the western states. Oil production in Texas has more than doubled since 2010. In North Dakota, it has tripled, and Oklahoma, New Mexico, Wyoming, Colorado and Utah have also shown steep rises in oil production over the same three years, according to EIA data. Tapping shale rock for oil and gas has fueled the US boom, while Russia has struggled to keep up its output. 'This is a remarkable turn of events,' says Adam Sieminski, head of the US Energy Information Administration. 'This is a new era of thinking about market conditions, and opportunities created by these conditions, that you wouldn't in a million years have dreamed about.' But even optimists in the US concede that the shale boom's longevity could hinge on commodity prices, government regulations and public support, the last of which could be problematic. A poll last month by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press found that opposition to increased use of fracking rose to 49% from 38% in the previous six months. 'It is not a supply question anymore,' says Ken Hersh. 'It is about demand and the cost of production. Those are the two drivers."'"
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US Now Produces More Oil and Gas Than Russia and Saudi Arabia

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  • Geopolitics (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pr0nbot (313417) on Monday October 07, 2013 @08:44AM (#45057947)

    I wonder what this means for geopolitics... will the US continue to support the Saudis etc?

    OTOH I expect we'll just see Jevons Paradox in action, which would mean we still need the Saudis.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jevons_paradox [wikipedia.org]

    • Doesn't actually sound all that paradoxical, once you look at it.

      The more useful a thing is, the more it will get used.

      Until it runs out. Fortunately at the same time we're doing this renewable energy is taking off hugely, so by the time we finish rapidly eating the last few bits of the petroleum cake, we'll have a new cake to chow on.

      The cake is still a lie, BTW.

    • Re:Geopolitics (Score:5, Informative)

      by tnk1 (899206) on Monday October 07, 2013 @08:52AM (#45058067)

      We'd still support the Saudis because Europe and China still use Mideast oil. We might not have been independent of Middle East oil, but we've always used much less of it than other places do. The problem here isn't feeding US SUVs as much as it is keeping the world stable and out of an energy crisis. If the Saudis suddenly stopped selling oil to Europe, the US would be mostly okay, but it would trash our allies and seriously destabilize the world picture.

      • Re:Geopolitics (Score:4, Insightful)

        by petes_PoV (912422) on Monday October 07, 2013 @09:17AM (#45058373)

        If the Saudis suddenly stopped selling oil to ... it would trash our allies

        When you say "allies", are you sure you don't mean "markets"? I don't think the USA has allies any more - just peoples and countries who depend on it for aid and subsidies and TV programmes.

        • Re:Geopolitics (Score:4, Informative)

          by poity (465672) on Monday October 07, 2013 @10:41AM (#45059541)

          Alliances arise out of necessity and mutual benefit, not from mutual like or some playground friendship mentality. As much as the governments of US allies may publicly denounce US actions for the sake of their own domestic image, they still collude with the US on geopolitics. For example, Merkel and parliamentarians may denounce PRISM and make public overtures of "overview" and "investigation", if only to keep their parties in favorable light with the public, but the BND's data-sharing will nonetheless continue because they need US data as much as the US needs theirs, if not more so.

    • Domestic refineries (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Isn't much of the foreign oil refined in the US [businessweek.com] anyway? Strategically that still gives some control over the commodity.

      Anyway the article linked to in the summary is short on details. It looks like the oil+natural gas mentioned in the summary really consists mostly of natural gas.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 07, 2013 @08:46AM (#45057977)

    Why are we still paying $3.50/gal for gasoline?

    Hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking”, is the process of drilling and injecting fluid into the ground at a high pressure in order to fracture shale rocks to release natural gas inside. Each gas well requires an average of 400 tanker trucks to carry water and supplies to and from the site.

    It takes 1-8 million gallons of water to complete each fracturing job.

    The water brought in is mixed with sand and chemicals to create fracking fluid. Approximately 40,000 gallons of chemicals are used per fracturing.
    Up to 600 chemicals are used in fracking fluid, including known carcinogens and toxins such as
    The fracking fluid is then pressure injected into the ground through a drilled pipeline.

    500,000 Active gas wells in the US X 8 million Gallons of water per fracking X 18 Times a well can be fracked

    72 trillion gallons of water
    and
    360 billion gallons of chemicals
    needed to run our current gas wells.

    The mixture reaches the end of the well where the high pressure causes the nearby shale rock to crack, creating fissures where natural gas flows into the well.

    During this process, methane gas and toxic chemicals leach out from the system and contaminate nearby groundwater.

    Methane concentrations are 17x higher in drinking-water wells near fracturing sites than in normal wells.

    Contaminated well water is used for drinking water for nearby cities and towns. There have been over 1,000 documented cases of water contamination next to areas of gas drilling as well as cases of sensory, respiratory, and neurological damage due to ingested contaminated water. Only 30-50% of the fractring fluid is recovered, the rest of the toxic fluid is left in the ground and is not biodegradable. The waste fluid is left in open air pits to evaporate, releasing harmful VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) into the atmosphere, creating contaminated air, acid rain, and ground level ozone. In the end, hydraulic fracking produces approximately 300,000 barrels of natural gas a day, but at the price of numerous environmental, safety, and health hazards.

    • by arth1 (260657) on Monday October 07, 2013 @08:58AM (#45058127) Homepage Journal

      Why are we still paying $3.50/gal for gasoline?

      Because of the deniers who will refuse more stringent pollution control and gasoline taxes. But sooner or later, it will be up to a more normal level.

    • by TWiTfan (2887093)

      Why are we still paying $3.50/gal for gasoline?

      Because cars don't yet run on natural gas?

      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        Huh?
        You have been able to buy CNG civics for a long time. Now other manufactorers are doing it too. Ford has trucks and vans powered by CNG. Conversion is not terribly expensive either.

        • by TWiTfan (2887093)

          Okay, well perhaps I should change my comment to "Because very, very few cars run on natural gas?" The only sales figures I could find for the Civic CNG indicated that Honda had only sold about 1,600 of them in 2012. Promising, but not exactly commonplace.

          • by h4rr4r (612664)

            Yeah, refueling is a bit hard to find, home compression is expensive and energy density is not that great by volume for CNG. Nor is MPG that good. Not only because of the realities of CNG but also because they are just changing the timing on a gasoline ice, not building something more suited to CNG. Kind of similar to the issue with ethanol and high blends of it. Sure gasoline engines can burn it, and it works, but since they are really tuned for something else it is not ideal.

        • You have been able to buy CNG civics for a long time.

          And how many people do you personally know that own one?

          [/crickets]

          That's what I thought.

          • by h4rr4r (612664)

            So?
            I don't know anyone who owns a Veyron either, do you doubt they exist?

            • by sjbe (173966) on Monday October 07, 2013 @11:07AM (#45059855)

              I don't know anyone who owns a Veyron either, do you doubt they exist?

              Nobody doubts passenger cars running CNG exist but they are about as rare as a Veyron - albeit for a very different reason. The simple reason there are hardly any CNG power passenger cars is that there is very limited refuelling infrastructure in place. Sure I can buy one in theory but since I can't refuel it most places it would be rather stupid to do so. Even electric vehicles have a more readily available infrastructure than CNG powered cars though they suffer from a similar problem. Most CNG powered cars are basically proof of concept vehicles rather than anything else

              So the original post was correct if you aren't overly pedantic about things in that for all practical purposes there are no passenger cars that run on CNG. Strictly speaking there are some out there but hardly anyone actually has one because the circumstances required to make one practical apply to virtually no one.

  • LOL...

    That sumbitch is destroying the country!

    • How are we going to blame this on Obama?

      He's the damn President of The United States! In case you haven't heard, the buck stops there...

      • by Assmasher (456699)

        I have no problem with that as long as it applies to ALL presidents, not just the ones you don't like...

        • by nschubach (922175)

          How long have you been on the planet? I can't think of any president in recent history that wasn't given a hard time. At least, not while I've been alive and I know it went further back than that.

          • by Assmasher (456699)

            Probably longer than you, and I don't recall any President getting more blame for things that had nothing to do with his decisions than Obama.

            I'm no Democrat either, they're all different shades of sellout idiots.

  • Food (Score:2, Insightful)

    by tekrat (242117)

    So long term, we're contaminating the underground water table, which will eventually rise to the surface, and contaminate the food supply -- Can't you just wait until corn, even grown for livestock feed starts showing trace amount of these chemicals?

    Or should we not worry since America doesn't make anything anymore, not even food, and we'll import all of our food from China?

    People right now are all up in arms over Fukishima, but I see this fracking as much much worse for us long term -- so bad that it'll ma

    • by cpicon92 (1157705)

      So long term, we're contaminating the underground water table, which will eventually rise to the surface, and contaminate the food supply -- Can't you just wait until corn, even grown for livestock feed starts showing trace amount of these chemicals?

      Or should we not worry since America doesn't make anything anymore, not even food, and we'll import all of our food from China?

      People right now are all up in arms over Fukishima, but I see this fracking as much much worse for us long term -- so bad that it'll ma

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Not only has he managed to get every American health care, but he has also made us virtually energy independent.

    Way to go, Obama!

  • by sl4shd0rk (755837) on Monday October 07, 2013 @09:01AM (#45058171)

    If you don't descend from Political/Capitalist Royalty "opportunities created by these conditions" was not in reference to your family.

  • by Lumpy (12016)

    Prices are still high and fluctuate like crazy...

    They need to STOP speculation trading on it to stabilize the prices.

  • Bubble? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Savage-Rabbit (308260) on Monday October 07, 2013 @09:14AM (#45058347)

    I have read several articles and reports by economists and geologists claiming this fracking boom is a bubble. The estimate of 100 years worth of gas is overstated. It seems 25 years worth of gas is more likely, less if gas exports are allowed. Then the bubble bursts. The shale oil bubble is worse, 80% of shale oil comes from two rapidly declining deposits, so unless replacements deposits are found that bubble bursts in ten years or so,. Also, we haven't even started talking about limiting factors like environmental issues and the increasing cost of maintaining production levels as the best deposits are used up. As usual everybody is so busy dancing to the buzz they don't stop to think.

    • Re:Bubble? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by swillden (191260) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Monday October 07, 2013 @10:14AM (#45059125) Homepage Journal

      I have read several articles and reports by economists and geologists claiming this fracking boom is a bubble. The estimate of 100 years worth of gas is overstated. It seems 25 years worth of gas is more likely, less if gas exports are allowed.

      I don't really have an opinion on the issue as a whole, but it's worth pointing out that similar reports have been telling us for decades that the end was nigh, and yet we continue finding new deposits and/or new ways to exploit known deposits. Obviously that can't continue forever, and it seems pretty clear that there are other issues that have to be considered (e.g. climate change), but I'm pretty skeptical of anyone projecting near-term resource exhaustion.

      It's always possible, of course, that this time the wolf really is here, but...

      Besides that, I think anyone predicting a sudden collapse of supply is silly. That's not how the world works; you don't see all of the fields simultaneously ceasing production, instead many fields begin to decline at differing rates. The result -- when we near exhaustion -- will be that available supply gradually tapers off, which will cause prices to gradually rise in order to limit demand to available supply. Rising prices will eventually move us off of fossil fuels, if we haven't already done it for other reasons.

      • Re:Bubble? (Score:5, Informative)

        by Savage-Rabbit (308260) on Monday October 07, 2013 @10:38AM (#45059505)

        I have read several articles and reports by economists and geologists claiming this fracking boom is a bubble. The estimate of 100 years worth of gas is overstated. It seems 25 years worth of gas is more likely, less if gas exports are allowed.

        I don't really have an opinion on the issue as a whole, but it's worth pointing out that similar reports have been telling us for decades that the end was nigh, and yet we continue finding new deposits and/or new ways to exploit known deposits. Obviously that can't continue forever, and it seems pretty clear that there are other issues that have to be considered (e.g. climate change), but I'm pretty skeptical of anyone projecting near-term resource exhaustion.

        It's always possible, of course, that this time the wolf really is here, but...

        Besides that, I think anyone predicting a sudden collapse of supply is silly. That's not how the world works; you don't see all of the fields simultaneously ceasing production, instead many fields begin to decline at differing rates. The result -- when we near exhaustion -- will be that available supply gradually tapers off, which will cause prices to gradually rise in order to limit demand to available supply. Rising prices will eventually move us off of fossil fuels, if we haven't already done it for other reasons.

        I was in the.skeptic camp in 2007/8 well before the mortgage crisis and I used to get got same kind of speeches you just gave. Nobody believed you could have a mortgage crisis on that scale, they didn't even think that there was anything wrong with putting people on bonuses handing out loans. You can have a fracking bubble without resource exhaustion just like you can have a real estate bubble without that being the end of real estate. Secondly, when it comes to shale oil and gas, resource exhaustion is a pretty rapid process. Regular oil wells last for multiple decades, shale deposits are exhausted in years and the drop in yields is very rapid so you frack your way through deposits very rapidly. You should read that last article linked to in the summary, it is a good place to start and it also mentions the 10 year shelf life of the shale oil boom (I got that figure elsewhere). I suppose we'll see what happens next, I just hope it isn't a rerun of the mortgage crisis.

  • by PopeRatzo (965947) on Monday October 07, 2013 @09:27AM (#45058467) Homepage Journal

    the US will end 2013 as the world's largest producer of petroleum and natural gas

    This is what happens when you put an anti-energy president and his horrible EPA regulations in charge.

    Disaster, I tell you!

    Funny how the additional domestic supply hasn't produced any drop in prices at the pump, eh? And how would a pipeline carrying that supply to ports for export lower prices?

    • by melikamp (631205)
      Now switching to green energy will result in USA residents loosing jobs (nevermind that more jobs will be created in the green sector), and so it will be easier to mount a political opposition to giving up fossil fuels, which is exactly what oil barons want. Indeed, it looks like the planet will warm up by 4-6 degrees and the see will go up by a few meters before the major players start doing ANYTHING. As an individual, I am getting extremely concerned with being in the right place when this shit hits the f
  • by HeckRuler (1369601) on Monday October 07, 2013 @09:28AM (#45058497)

    Oil production in Texas has more than doubled since 2010

    Huh, that's interesting because I thought that it was more or less established that the lower 48 states hit peak oil a while ago. The price went up, but production didn't, because they couldn't, because it wasn't there.

    Oh, wait, yeah, here we go:
    It doubled from almost nothing. (linked like it's hot) [wikipedia.org] And here's the larger picture. [wikipedia.org]

    Now, the main thrust of the article could be right on the money because it lumps natural gas in with oil and we've got a new way of squeezing gas out of the ground. WOO! Let's here it for technological innovation making the world a better place! But pointing out how Texas has doubled production from 300 to 600 million of barrels per year when it used to produce over 1200, and other than the last few years has been in decline since the 70's.... it's a little disingenuous.

    But it's interesting that Texas has indeed ramped up oil production. There's probably a pretty serious story about why they're doing it NOW as opposed to during the massive scare that preceded the econopocalypse cica 2006.

  • Congratulations on your relatively better energy independance. But alas, I have to correct the article : Fossil fuel *production* (which as far as we know is a biological / geological process) is probably just a few barrels each day (given current reserves and the time it needed to form; conditions favoring formation probably varies with geological epochs). Fossil fuel *extraction* is what the article talks about, and is at an all time high.

    You usually don't celebrate that much that your rate of withdrawi

  • ... and little else will change.
  • "...even optimists in the US concede that the shale boom's longevity could hinge on commodity prices, government regulations and public support..."

    Whatever unicorns & rainbows legislation against current recovery methods will either be
    - obsolesced by technology which will allow recovery without using those methods, or
    - overturned by a petro-starving public when the prices get high enough.

    Difficult-to-recover petro resources are never too far away; more accurately they're just banked for future generatio

  • I'm still paying $3.99/gallon for regular.

  • by EMG at MU (1194965) on Monday October 07, 2013 @09:47AM (#45058761)
    Russia: $2.10 / gallon
    Saudi Arabia: $0.91 / gallon

    How many billions of dollars per year do we give the oil and natural gas industry in tax breaks every year? That savings is passed on to the consumer, right? It's not like oil companies are still raking in record profits.

    Since the U.S. doesn't have a state run oil company, U.S. consumers get no special benefit from oil and natural gas production in the US being at an all time high. The oil companies sell it on the open market, it doesn't matter where it came out of the ground. Furthermore, production increases in the US will not outweigh demand increases across the rest of the world.

    Net result: U.S. consumers still pay the same, the U.S. Government still gives oil companies tax breaks while they laugh their ass to the bank, a lot of people's groundwater is being contaminated, and in the end we will have nothing to show for it.
  • how are we supposed to invade ourselves?
  • Why in the world would the US tap into its reserves when it could purchase oil abroad? Soon enough, oil is going to become scarce. Wouldn't it have been better for the US to save its reserves for that time. Seems to me like we sold out very cheaply to the oil interests at the expense of our long-term security.

  • by FridayBob (619244) on Monday October 07, 2013 @10:04AM (#45058985) Homepage

    America may now be the world's biggest oil producer, but in contrast to other oil producing countries around the world, where multinational oil companies must hand over most of their profits (90% in Saudi Arabia), when they pump it out of the ground in the United States they pay zero taxes and are even subsidized with hundreds of millions of dollars a year.

    Why? Because of political bribery, now legal thanks to Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which has created a corrupt Congress that affects both Democrats and Republicans alike.

    Luckily there is still hope: it's called Wolf-PAC [wolf-pac.com]. This organization was launched in October 2011 for the purpose of passing a 28th Constitutional Amendment to end corporate personhood and publicly finance all elections. Since Congress won't pass an Amendment like this on its own, the idea is to have the State Legislators propose it instead by way of an Article V Convention. At least 34 States need to cooperate for this to work, so it's not an easy thing to do, but already many have reacted with enthusiasm, notably Texas. If successful, Congress should be fixed within one or two election cycles.

    • by gtall (79522)

      "publicly finance all elections" is not a credible idea because it will never stop outside contributions which are protected as part of free speech. And PACs can always be started to launder more funds. In short, the pols will simply say, "Thank you very much, I'll just add to my PAC pile." And if you think shutting down PACs will help, it won't because they are protected by free speech as well and will just switch to running exclusively their own campaigns for or against "issues" which some of their favore

  • It could be just an attempt to lower prices on the oil and gas market.
  • ... we can turn our attention to how we make our water sources potable and how to decontaminate the soil around fracking sites. (Without lobbying the government to increase the maximum allowable levels of [insert name of nasty carcinogenic chemical here] so as to make the need for cleaning up fracking sites neatly go away.)

  • This is a step back in our evolution as a species...

    We could have all the clean energy we would ever need, but humans (oligarchs) who rely upon **centuries-old** capital systems delivering resources...

    But they don't like giving up their revenue stream...

  • When oil drilling first started in PA there was a huge boom and bust. There is nothing special about fracking technology, it is only a matter of time before other countries get it going and gas shale deposits are not limited to the US. The price of gas could get pushed down below the cost of the drilling and processing and become a bust. It might also become cheap enough to process natural gas as a substitute for oil in things like plastics depressing oil prices too.

  • by stenvar (2789879) on Monday October 07, 2013 @11:30AM (#45060135)

    Can we please get out of the MIddle East and Europe now? I mean withdraw our troops and let those people deal with their own problems themselves?

There is no opinion so absurd that some philosopher will not express it. -- Marcus Tullius Cicero, "Ad familiares"

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