Fracking changes energy landscape
Energy production in this country is increasing at a record-setting pace.
President Obama and his top administrators continue their efforts to at least delay, if not kill outright, the jobs-producing Keystone pipeline plan in Pennsylvania. But there's a limit to their reach, and the private sector is working overtime to generate the energy that our economy so desperately needs.
Indeed, it's never worked harder and been more productive.
Crude oil production in the United States jumped by more than 1 million barrels a day last year, the largest increase ever in the world. Daily U.S. production increased to 8.9 million barrels of oil, according to an industry trend group, a jump attributable to shale oil production generated by hydraulic fracturing, aka "fracking."
This new drilling process allows developers to reach deeply buried oil supplies, and its promise is vast — not just in this country but around the world.
Less than a month ago, Illinois legislators passed a bill that established new ground rules for fracking, and Illinoisans will be hearing a lot more about it once energy explorers have the time to move their plans from the drawing board deep underground.
It's impossible to say just how much fracking will boost the Illinois economy, and it would be foolish to get carried away at this point.
But fracking has led to an economic revolution in North Dakota, where the deep underground oil supply appears to be boundless and generated a production increase that puts this country third on the list of oil-producing countries behind Saudi Arabia and Russia.
So far, the increases have not caused the price of oil to drop much; it's been bouncing around from $90 to $100 a barrel with bottlenecks in moving oil from one place to another blamed for the higher prices.
Despite that temporary problem, it's clear that this country, and perhaps the world, is on the brink of another energy revolution.