Energy is at the very heart of the American economy, and as we grow more and more dependent upon technology, energy is at the heart of our very way of life. Fossil fuels, including petroleum, remain the most cost effective and efficient means of energy, accounting for more than 80 percent of our nation’s total energy needs.
For many years, that meant we were also dependent upon imports from foreign nations. This is because petroleum accounts for 34.8% of our energy usage in the U.S., and we imported more than 38 percent of the oil we used in 2014.
Today, those circumstances are changing. Thanks to innovation in petroleum technologies, the United States now has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to become an energy leader for the world. Oil production in the US has increased 71 percent since 2006, while imports have decreased by 27 percent. North Dakota is a big part of that. In fact, North Dakota accounted for 13 percent of all domestic production in 2014.
North Dakota has been an oil-producing state since 1951, but it was only in the past decade that the state has risen to become the second largest-oil producing state in the nation. The dramatic increase in production is thanks to advances in technologies, including horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, that have unlocked vast resources in the Bakken and Three Forks formations. In 2014, North Dakota produced 396.85 million barrels of oil, which would make it the 19th largest oil producer in the world if it were its own country. The Bakken is also one of 10 oil plays to produce more than 1 million barrels per day.
This production has helped the nation decrease its reliance on foreign oil as imports have dropped to the lowest point since 1996. This has translated not only into lower prices for the consumers, but a greater potential for the United States to play a key role in lending stability to the overall crude oil market and influencing more stability in geopolitics.