Oil rigs are returning to the U.S. at the fastest rates in two years due to rising oil prices.
There are currently 712 active oil rigs in the U.S., up from 316 in the middle of last year. The number of operating American oil rigs has increased for 17 straight weeks.
US Oil Drilling is Coming Back: US active oil rigs increased last week to 712 – the highest in more than two years. pic.twitter.com/5vPuSq1ZWl
Much of this rise in the number active oil rigs is attributable to a stabilization of oil prices and the development of fracking of American shale.
New technologies mean that America is producing more oil and has larger oil reserves than ever before, according to a report by the International Energy Agency. IEA predicts that America could produce a record high of 14.2 million barrels of oil per day within five years. Currently, Saudi Arabia produces just over 10 million barrels of oil per day.
The majority of new oil and natural gas drilling in the U.S. is happening in Texas, according to a report published by the federal Energy Information Administration. American oil and gas drilling is increasingly concentrated in the Permian Basin, which spans parts of western Texas and southeastern New Mexico. The Permian now has nearly as many active oil rigs as the rest of the U.S. combined.
Oil production in the region has spiked drastically since early 2015, while production in other areas has fallen due to low oil prices. Permian oil is relatively cheap to access and refine since it’s close to most American refineries.
Fracking is the process of using a high-pressure water mixture to release natural gas or oil from rock, unlocking reserves that were previously economically unfeasible to access. The process has triggered an oil and natural gas boom, which allowed the U.S. to pass Russia as the world’s largest producer of both oil and natural gas.