US oil production is on pace to eclipse 1998 levels in 2012. Daily production is set to grow more than 10% year over year. Let’s put this in perspective – you have to go back to 1950-1951 to find the last year US oil production grew by more than 10% in a single year. A total of 800,000 b/d of growth is expected during the year and that has never happened in the history of the United States!
2009 was the first year the country grew production since 1991 and even then production grew at a rate of less than 1%. There was growth in the mid-1980s, but you have to go back to the 1960s if you want to see the last time the country grew production consistently. The current streak is now four years. If you’re questioning the significance of modern shale development, the past four years should prove something has changed. The country has identifiable resource that is supporting production growth for the first time in decades. Actually, new developments are doing more than support growth, they’re setting records.