In a development likely to enrage President Barack Obama’s environmental supporters, last year U.S. crude-oil production experienced the largest increase in U.S. history and the largest jump of any country on the planet.
Spurred on by fracking and the shale revolution, crude output leapt 14% to 8.9 million barrels a day, reports the Wall Street Journal.
High U.S. output helped keep oil prices from spiking. Furthermore, increased production in places like the North Dakota’s Bakken Shale and the Eagle Ford Shale in Texas helped buoy state economies and create jobs.
There were also foreign policy benefits as well, notes the Journal:
The extra North American supply made it easier for the U.S. and Europe to impose tough sanctions on Iranian oil exports in a bid to hamstring its nuclear-weapons development. Iranian oil production fell 16% to 3.7 million barrels per day, the largest drop among major producers, BP said. Other oil-market analysts have said Iranian exports have fallen by more than one million barrels per day since sanctions took full effect last summer.
Yet not everyone is celebrating. Obama’s environmental supporters are likely to see the news as further capitulation from his campaign promises to slow the rise of the oceans and heal the planet.
The oil boom news is also likely to be further injury to the environmentalists who were outraged with the appointment of pro-fracking, pro-nuclear energy scientist Ernest Moniz as Obama’s new Energy Secretary.
“Appointing Mr. Moniz would be a nail in the coffin for one of his most lauded inaugural speech promises: a commitment to focus on climate solutions,” said Food & Water Watch executive director Wenonah Hauter before Moniz’s confirmation.
Hauter added: “Mr. Moniz is a known cheerleader for exploiting our reserves of natural gas using a highly controversial and polluting practice known as hydraulic fracturing (‘fracking’). His appointment to the DOE could set renewable energy development back years.”
But for Americans seeking lower-cost energy solutions, the record growth in U.S. oil production is a welcome reprieve from the ravages of the Obama economy.