"We have unleashed a revolution in American energy—the United States is now the number one producer of oil and natural gas in the world," declared President Donald Trump in his State of the Union address Tuesday night. While Trump's paean to our country's robust oil and gas industry will incense Keep It in the Ground activists, even the Green New Deal Congressional resolution currently being crafted recognizes that banning fossil fuels is not feasible.
Oil and natural gas production in the U.S. is indeed soaring. According to the latest Energy Information Administration report, U.S. crude oil production stands at 11.9 million barrels per day. That's just shy of 24 percent more than the 1970 peak of 9.6 million barrels per day. So much for Hubbert's Peak!
The U.S. is also now the world's biggest producer of natural gas, at about 853 billion cubic meters in the last 12 months. The next biggest producers in 2017 were Russia and Iran at 694 and 209 billion cubic meters correspondingly.
Trump also claimed that "for the first time in 65 years, we are a net exporter of energy." He is evidently referring to oil exports and imports. This is a bit more complicated.
As Forbes energy commentator Robert Rapier noted in December, the U.S. consumes the equivalent of 20 million barrels of oil per day. That implies a shortfall of about 8 million barrels of oil per day. That gap is filled with a mixture of natural gas liquids, ethanol, and finished product exports and imports.
Even taking these other fuels into account, Rapier finds that the U.S. still consumes 2 million barrels per day more of petroleum products than we produce. Still, it is a remarkable achievement that daily U.S. imports have steeply fallen from a peak of 10.5 million barrels per day in 2004.