March 20 U.S. oil production is set to surpass
the amount of crude the country imports for the first time since
1995 later this year, the U.S. Energy Information Administration
said on Wednesday.
The boom in U.S. shale or tight oil production unleashed by
advances in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing - known
as "fracking" - is expected to see U.S. output top 8 million
barrels per day (bpd) by the end of 2014, the EIA said. That
would be the highest level since 1988.
"Monthly crude oil production in the United States is
expected to exceed the amount of U.S. crude oil imports later
this year for the first time since February 1995," the EIA, the
statistical arm of the Energy Department, said on its website.
"The gap between monthly U.S. crude oil production and
imports is projected to be almost 2 million barrels per day by
the end of next year."
U.S. oil output has surged from less than 6 million bpd in
early 2011 to above 7 million bpd currently.
Since late 2010, a combination of higher production and
falling demand has slashed the need for imports from just under
10 million bpd to less than 8 million bpd, EIA data shows.
The price of U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI)
oil has been pressured relative to seaborne crudes such as North
Sea Brent by rising U.S. production.
The United States' continued reliance on imports, however,
has left gasoline and diesel prices closely linked to more
expensive crude from overseas.
On Wednesday, U.S. crude oil was trading near $93 a
barrel and Brent was above $108 a barrel.