- Photo: Reuters
The United States is poised to become the world's largest producer of oil and natural gas, surpassing Russia and Saudi Arabia by the end 2013, according to the Energy Information Administration.
The EIA says US production levels will reach 25 million barrels of oil per day or an astounding 50 quadrillion British thermal units, 5 quadrillion Btu more than Russia. Natural gas production has risen by 3 quadrillion Btu over the same.
The U.S. has been on this path for a while largely due to the fast development of oil production in Texas and North Dakota using a method known as hydraulic fracturing.
Some analysts believe the United States may already have become the world's largest gas and oil producer, while others believe it will take until the end of the year for the US to claim the top spot.
Still analysts estimate that the U.S. is losing out on billions in additional revenue due to the efficient nature of current oil production, storage and transport.
Natural gas is one of the primary loses. When oil is extracted natural gas is also released, but given the comparatively low cost of natural gas along with the absence of an infrastructure to capture and store the gas, it is simply left to burn off.
In 2012 alone, flaring resulted in the loss of approximately $1 billion with greenhouse gas emissions from the burn off being equivalent to adding nearly one million cars to the road, the report stated.
But the problem has not gone unnoticed as energy companies develop plans to utilize the energy sources burning off right before their eyes.
"There's a lot of shareholder value going up in flames due to flaring… Investors want companies to have a more aggressive reaction to flaring, and disclose clear steps to fix the problem" analyst Ryan Salmon told Reuters.
One of the problems facing energy companies is that many natural gas drilling sites are in remote locations with limited infrastructure in place for storage or transport, requiring the building of pipelines which can cost several hundreds of millions of dollars.