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Energy Superpower: The United States Of Oil And Gas

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Tim Meko and Laris Karklis, The Washington Post

Since 2010, the United States has been in an oil-and-gas boom. In 2015, domestic production was at near-record levels, and we now produce more petroleum products than any other country in the world.

President Trump said he plans to double down on the oil and gas industry, lifting regulations and drilling on federal land. Here is the state of the petroleum extraction industry that the energy secretary nominee, Rick Perry, would inherit.

There are more than 900,000 active oil and gas wells in the United States, and more than 130,000 have been drilled since 2010, according to Drillinginfo, a company that provides data and analysis to the drilling industry.

We’re familiar with oil-rich regions of Texas, but technological advances and new pipeline infrastructure have brought the ability to extract these resources to new parts of the country, injecting billions of dollars into local economies and spurring a modern-day gold rush.

Drilling for black gold in the Permian Basin

Many oil basins, the deep geologic formations that hold resources, have started to decline in production.

But some, like the ever-reliable Gulf of Mexico and the Permian Basin in western Texas and eastern New Mexico, show no signs of slowing down.

The Permian has produced oil since the 1920s. Companies hit production peak in the 1970s, when they drilled vertically into reservoirs and the natural pressure immediately caused the oil to flow. Over the next 30 years, production declined throughout the United States.

Recently, companies have doubled down on the Permian, using a combination of sophisticated hydraulic fracturing and new horizontal drilling techniques to unlock massive untapped oil and gas resources sitting in layers of shale rock. This is commonly known as fracking.

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