U.S. Oil Output at 14-Year High, Poised to Climb Further

Shale Drilling Investments Will Yield Significant Increases

U.S. crude oil production, already at the highest level in 14 years, probably will increase further amid stepped-up horizontal drilling to tap "tight" oil formations in North Dakota and other areas, the Energy Information Administration said in its This Week in Petroleum Report.

Since the start of 2009, North Dakota's oil production has more than tripled, to nearly 675,000 barrels a day, primarily because of increased drilling in the Bakken shale formation. Combined, Montana and North Dakota output may approach 1.1 million barrels a day in January 2014, up 49% from 738,000 currently.

"Companies are making significant capital investments in horizontal drilling rigs and deploying them to tight oil plays," the EIA said. "Development of tight formations will lead to continuing significant increases in U.S. oil production in the coming years."

Additionally, Texas is pumping more oil from its Permian Basin region. During the first eight months of 2012, total U.S. oil production averaged 6.21 million barrels a day. If sustained over the full year, production would be the highest since an average of 6.25 million barrels a day in 1998.

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