A combination of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling is helping producers reach U.S. shale deposits of oil from North Dakota to Texas, boosting domestic crude output to the highest in a quarter-century and bringing the nation closer to energy independence than it has been in 27 years.
Total U.S. oil output rose 33,000 barrels a day, or 0.4 percent, in the week ended March 14 to 8.22 million, the most since May 1988, data compiled by the Energy Information Administration, the U.S. Department’s statistical arm, show. Crude stockpiles climbed 5.85 million barrels, or 1.6 percent, to 375.9 million.
U.S. gas stockpiles dropped 48 billion cubic feet last week to 953 billion, EIA data show. Supplies were a record 47.9 percent below the five-year average and 49.4 percent below year-earlier levels.
Natural gas for April delivery slipped 4 cents, or 1 percent, to $4.324 on the Nymex. The price is up 9.9 percent in the past year.