Calgary Herald
U.S. oil imports to drop as drilling hits 24-year high

Monday, January 23, 2012

The number of rigs drilling for oil in the United States hit a 24-year high last week as analysts forecast the boom in shale and unconventional crude production would drastically slash U.S. dependence on foreign oil in the next five years.

U.S. and Canadian oil output is set to surge by 36 per cent, or 3.1 million barrels per day, through 2016 as a rush of crude from shale and other tight oilfields comes onstream, according to a report by consultancy Bentek Energy, adding to a crush of new unconventional North American production that has upended trade in the world's largest market.

Output from the United States alone should jump 2.2 million bpd over the period, while U.S. dependence on foreign crude excluding Canada will drop by 2.8 million bpd, Bentek said in a statement outlining the report.

"The resurgence of U.S. oil production should greatly reduce the need for foreign oil over the next five years," said Adam Bedard, senior director of energy analysis at Bentek Energy. "Combined with the recent surge in natural gas and natural gas liquids production, the U.S. has been propelled back to the forefront of the global energy producers and innovators."

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