New from the U.S. Energy Information Administration:

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 gap between monthly U.S. crude oil production and imports is projected to be almost 2 million barrels per day (bbl/d) by the end of next year—according to EIA's March 2013 Short-Term Energy Outlook.

EIA charts it like this:

Two more EIA details:

  • Monthly crude oil production is forecast to top 8 million bbl/d in the fourth quarter of 2014, which would be the highest level since 1988.
  • Net crude oil imports are expected to fall below 7 million bbl/d in the fourth quarter of 2014 for the first time since 1995.

So, when’s the parade? Seriously, advancing from the various energy crises of the 1970s, 80s and 90s to a point where the United States soon may produce more of its own crude oil than it imports is a big deal. Not just a big energy deal – a landmark achievement in terms of our economy and overall security.

Credit a number of factors:

  • The energy wealth of the United States. Thanks to new technologies – chiefly, the combination of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling – the picture of U.S. oil and natural gas reserves has been completely redrawn. EIA: “This projected change is primarily because of rising domestic crude oil production, particularly from shale and other tight rock formations in North Dakota and Texas.
  • A vigorous oil and natural gas industry – able and willing to invest in people, equipment, infrastructure to develop those reserves, dramatically increasing domestic production.
  • Again, technology. The oil and natural gas industry is an innovator when it comes to discovering ways to develop new and not-so-new energy reserves. It also is constantly finding ways to make procedures such as hydraulic fracturing more productive, more efficient and more environmentally friendly.

We talk often about the game-changing nature of the shale oil and natural gas revolution – again, made possible by hydraulic fracturing – and EIA’s forecast is quantification of the fact. Let’s keep the revolution going, with forward-looking policies that bring American energy reserves online through greater access, common-sense systems for leasing, permitting and regulating development and visionary leadership that properly manages our resources.