For many Americans – and for much of the world – the fact that the United States has now surpassed both Russia and Saudi Arabia as the largest global producer of crude oil and natural gas liquids by volume is still an eye-popping statistic. According to the most important governmental and independent studies, the consensus is clear: this new age of energy abundance in the United States is a long-term reality. If the full potential of America’s energy abundance is realized, the country will see billions of dollars of investment in new jobs, new technology, and new energy infrastructure that will spur economic growth and bring substantial benefits to consumers and workers.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates that U.S. total crude oil production averaged 7.5 million barrels per day in 2013, an increase of 950,000 barrels per day from the previous year. As a result, the United States is now producing about 8.6 million barrels per day, which is the highest annual average since 1986.
According to the EIA, total projected U.S. crude oil production will soar to 9.6 million barrels per day in 2019, which is 3.1 million barrels per day more than in 2012. When looking at oil and natural gas liquids, which are similar to the light crude currently at the heart of the U.S. oil revolution, the United States produced more than 11 million barrels of combined liquids per day in 2014. In the years ahead, production is expected to grow to more than 13 million barrels per day.
To achieve these levels of production, Congress must repeal the outdated ban on exporting domestically produced crude oil. Doing so will encourage more U.S. oil production, increase the nation’s domestic energy security and generate the economic benefits that come with it.
As the chart below illustrates, whether the export range is on the high side, or the lower side, production goes up:
According to IHS Energy, a global consultancy and think tank, “lifting the export ban and allowing free trade will, in our base case, increase US production from 8.2 million [barrels per day] B/D currently to 11.2 million B/D.”
Consultancy ICF International echoes this production outlook, observing that “with crude exports, U.S. oil production is expected to grow faster and result in incremental U.S. oil production of between 110,000 – 500,000 barrels per day in 2020.”
And the Brookings Institution concludes that if “producers invest in producing more oil in the United States, [there will be] about 1.3 million to 2.9 million barrels per day more in 2020 than under the ban, assuming the ban is lifted in 2015.”