U.S. Could Be Largest Non-OPEC Oil Producer by 2014

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Increased production and fracking techniques could make the country energy-independent by 2030.

By the middle of next year, we’ll be producing more oil than Russia, the International Energy Agency says.

That means we’ll be the biggest producer of oil outside of OPEC, churning out more than 11 million barrels a day, CNNMoney says. It also means China probably now imports more oil than we do.

U.S. output this quarter is expected to fall about half a million barrels per day short of Russia’s, CNNMoney says. But investments in producing shale oil and gas will propel the U.S. ahead. IEA forecasts America could outproduce Saudi Arabia by 2020, and be energy independent by 2030.

That’s assuming shale oil- and gas-producing technologies such as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, hold up to continued scrutiny. France has banned the practice over concerns it could damage water supplies, The New York Times says. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is studying the techniques and expects to release a report in 2014.

Fracking is a process “where millions of gallons of water, sand and chemicals are pumped underground to break apart the rock and release the gas,” ProPublica says. It has an infographic explaining the process.

From 2008 to 2011, American crude oil production rose 14 percent and natural gas production rose 10 percent, CNNMoney says.

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