The oil market turned around

Oil exploration and production in the United States is on the rise. N.C. State University economist Mike Walden shares facts on how this has changed the balance of producing domestic oil production versus importing oil.

“I don’t know of another major economic market that has changed as much as the oil market. Ten years ago, the United States imported, every day, 10 million barrels of oil, and we produced from domestic sources only 5 million barrels of oil each day. So we had a gap of 5 million barrels daily.

“Today we import 8 million barrels daily, and we domestically produce 8 million barrels daily. So we’ve got that gap down from 5 million to zero, and many think that the numbers are simply going to continue to move in that direction to where soon we’re going to be producing more daily than we’re importing.

“And this is going to raise, I think, an issue that we’re going to hear more and more about — and that is, should the U.S. lift its virtual ban on exporting domestically produced oil? Right now, the notion is, ‘Hey, if we produce any oil domestically, by golly, let’s use that here. Let’s not send that to another country. Let’s use that here so we can reduce our dependence on foreign-produced oil.’

“The problem with that is that as we get more and more oil produced, we don’t have a refinery capacity. We don’t have the pipeline capacity to move the oil from where it was found to where it needs be refined. So this, I think, is going to put pressure on that … ban, and so I think this is going to be a big political issue that we are going to hear about in 2014.”

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