Buried in an unheralded weekly U.S. petroleum balance sheet released Wednesday was a milestone that not so long ago seemed unimaginable: We pumped more oil out of the ground than we imported for the week ending May 31.
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The difference between oil production and imports wasn't huge -- about 80,000 barrels out of 7,300,000 barrels per day extracted domestically. But it's the first time the balance has shifted in this direction since February 1995, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
What's driving the change, of course, is the combination of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, pioneered here in Texas. Tight oil formations in the Eagle Ford Shale of South Texas and the Permian Basin -- along with production in North Dakota -- allowed the country to meet 88 percent of its energy requirements this spring, Bloomberg reports. That hasn't happened since 1986.
By the end of this year, it's predicted the Eagle Ford will be the biggest tight-oil producing play in the country. And unlike the Bakken Shale in North Dakota, there's no bottleneck, and no shortage of conveyances to get the oil to market. It is, after all, next to one of the largest refinery complexes in the country.
Which is to say, it looks like Texas is going to be oil flush for years to come.