This month in (U.S. oil production) history

The top songs, movies and news events from the last time U.S. oil production was so high


It’s difficult to wrap the mind around what is happening in America’s oil patch. The shale revolution, which almost no one anticipated a decade ago, has driven U.S. oil production to levels not seen in decades. That, along with several other global factors, is helping to drive global oil prices down. As of Oct. 10, the price for West Texas Intermediate crude has fallen more than 20 per cent from its June high to less than US$86 a barrel.

To put this surge in oil production into perspective, I’ve created this ongoing post—part oil boom tracker, part history lesson. Each month that U.S. oil output reaches a new high*, I’ll add to this page with a new oil history chart showing what was going on in the world the last time monthly production was at that level.

Here are a few to start things off, marking the three most recent months when production broke records. The latest milestone came in May, according to figures from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, when production exceeded the level it was at in January 1987.

oil production history 1


Oil production history 2


Oil production history 3

*Note: Only production highs that break new records will be included. For instance, production in July, the most recent month for which figures are available, was higher than May, but not by enough to set a new record.

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This month in (U.S. oil production) history

  1. And the current government wants to put all of it’s economic eggs in the oil and gas basket? Alberta, Sask, and NFLD would suffer greatly, and deservedly so, if America continues to flood the market for a prolonged period of time.

    • Simple economics. The tax revenue stream from oil and gas production requires no (zip, zero, nada, none) financial input from government. It’s all positive cash TO government when oil and gas are exploited. All of those magic bullets that everyone keeps imagining are waiting in the wings, that will supposedly provide the tax revenues that our bloated governments currently rely on, always seem to require massive infusions of tax dollars up front. Where, pray tell, will all of THOSE tax dollars come from? Further to that, wind and solar provide no tax dollars, as they require massive subsidies. They also increase costs of business, leading to reduced tax flows due to reduced profits. (If a wind farm pays taxes of $4 million dollars, after receiving a subsidy of $12 million, does it really pay taxes?) Despite the fervent prayers and hopes of the loony left, a government is wholly incapable of diversifying an economy. Only healthy economies become diverse. Resource-based economies become more diverse because the industries that spring up to serve the resource sector, inevitably find customers outside of their original resource sector. Technologies always transfer across industry boundaries. Thus, oilfield technologies find their way into textiles and manufacturing, textiles into aerospace, and aerospace into oilfield, etc.
      A government can no more “diversify” an economy than a welder can teach a buffalo how to ride a bicycle.

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