The U.S. is poised to overtake Russia as the world’s largest producer of oil and gasthis year, if it hasn’t already, an analysis by The Wall Street Journal found.
Tapping shale rock for oil and gas fueled the comeback, while Russia has struggled to maintain its output and has yet gone for technologies such as hydraulic fracturing that have been key for the U.S. boost in production, the newspaper said.
The production boom is reshaping oil markets and eroding the political clout of traditional petroleum-rich countries, the Journal said.
U.S. imports of natural gas and oil have fallen 32% and 15%, respectively. Because the U.S. is such a huge consumer of energy, its shift to producing has left more oil and gas available to other buyers.
“Nations that rely on peddling petroleum for their economic strength and political clout face dwindling market power as a result,” it said.
The U.S. last year got more natural gas than Russia, the first time since 1982. And it is catching up in pumping crude — Russia produced an average 10.8 million barrels a day in the first half of the year.
That’s 900,000 a day more than the U.S., but down from a difference of 3 million barrels a day a few years ago, the newspaper said, citing statistics from the Energy Information Administration.
Russia, however, also sits on vast, untapped reserves in shale formations, and could have a boom of its own in coming years.
Moreover, there are concerns about the U.S. boom’s longevity — it would depend on futures prices, government regulation and public support.