“After reaching a record 60 percent of domestic oil demand in 2005, net oil imports next year are forecast to fall to 32 percent of consumption, the lowest level since 1985,” he said.
The turnaround is remarkable. In seven years, U.S. producers have reversed more than four decades of production declines.
While the government is reluctant to predict long-term growth, some producers have no problems making such forecasts.
Oklahoma City-based Continental Resources Inc. has been the leading developer of the Bakken field in North Dakota and Montana.
The field has been the fastest-growing oil patch in the world for the past four years.
In 2007, natural gas was selling for more than $10 per thousand cubic feet and most industry players were scrambling to find more dry gas. Even then Continental CEO Harold Hamm told me to keep an eye on domestic oil.
“Over the past 25 years, oil has had a better intrinsic value than natural gas,” Hamm said in the August 2007 interview. “It is the only fuel we have for transportation, even today. A lot of people have the concept that we can't find oil here in the U.S. There is a lot of oil to be found, but there aren't many people focusing on it.”
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