News & Politics

U.S. World's Top Fossil Fuels Producer for Sixth Year in a Row

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For the sixth year in a row, the U.S. was the top fossil fuels producer in the world. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. “The United States remained the world’s top producer of petroleum and natural gas hydrocarbons in 2017, reaching a record high.” The report went on to say that the United States “has been the world’s top producer of natural gas since 2009, when U.S. natural gas production surpassed that of Russia, and the world’s top producer of petroleum hydrocarbons since 2013, when U.S. production exceeded Saudi Arabia’s. Since 2008, U.S. petroleum and natural gas production has increased by nearly 60%.”

In addition, “For the United States and Russia, total petroleum and natural gas hydrocarbon production, measured in energy content, is almost evenly split between petroleum and natural gas, while Saudi Arabia’s production heavily favors petroleum. Total petroleum production is made up of several different types of liquid fuels, including crude oil and lease condensate, tight oil, extra-heavy oil, and bitumen. In addition, various processes produce natural gas plant liquids (NGPL), biofuels, and other liquid fuels, some as a result of refinery processing gain.”

I giggle every time I read something like this. In the ’80s and ’90s we were told that the world is running out of oil! We were assured that we’d never be self-sufficient in fossil fuels again. We were living in an era of limits, the last gasp of industrial civilization.

We are now exporting oil and fracking companies can’t get the stuff out of the ground fast enough to meet demand. And our oil reserves surpass those of Saudi Arabia and Russia:

Proven oil reserves in the United States were 36.4 billion barrels (5.79×109 m3) of crude oil as of the end of 2014, excluding the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. The 2014 reserves represent the largest U.S. proven reserves since 1972 and a 90 percent increase in proved reserves since 2008. The Energy Information Administration estimates U.S. undiscovered, technically recoverable oil resources to be an additional 198 billion barrels.