According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Institute for 21st Century Energy, the increase in oil and gas production last year from fracking has significantly reduced our national security risks by increasing our own energy security. The index, which follows 37 separate metrics, showed a risk reduction in 26 of those metrics thanks to the boom in unconventional oil and gas production. With Syrian worries driving oil prices higher, securing our own energy is more important than ever. The good news is that, looking ahead, the institute is now projecting that our energy risks will be further reduced in the future as the United States produces more energy.
The Bakken and the Eagle Ford continue to lead the charge toward a more secure future. Those two areas have helped drive U.S. oil production to 7.6 million barrels per day, which is the highest output in 24 years. By producing more oil here at home, we have done what the Department of Defense hasn't been able to do, which is to secure our future sources of energy.
Production soars in the Eagle Ford
As the discoverer of the Eagle Ford Shale in Texas, the nation really does owe EOG Resources (NYSE:EOG) a debt of gratitude. This past June, production in the Eagle Ford averaged 621,000 barrels of oil per day, which is 60.2% higher than just last year. Of that total, EOG is producing 173,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, which makes it the top producer in the play that's helping to secure our nation's energy future.
EOG is of course not alone in its quest. The nation's No. 2 natural gas producer, Chesapeake Energy (OTC:CHKA.Q), has shifted its focus to developing the oil-rich Eagle Ford. This past quarter the company produced an average of 85,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, which is up a breathtaking 135% over last year. While we shouldn't expect the rate of growth to continue, however, overall oil production will continue to grow as both companies expect to continue drilling at least for the next decade. That will go a long way in continuing to secure our nation's energy future.
Bakken keeps getting bigger
Like the Eagle Ford, the Bakken is one of the biggest reasons America's energy supply is becoming much more secure. Just this past June, the play delivered 757,000 barrels of oil per day, which set a new record for the North Dakota-based oil shale. Here we have companies such as Continental Resources (NYSE:CLR) to thank, as the company is the leading producer in the region. It's also leading the exploration of the lesser-known Three Forks formation, which, when combined with the Bakken, is believed to contain 20 billion barrels of recoverable oil, which would almost double the current U.S. oil reserves.
In addition to Continental, there are a number of home-grown oil companies working overtime to turn this national treasure into a leading driver of national security. Two of these companies, Kodiak Oil & Gas (NYSE: KOG) and Oasis Petroleum (NYSE:OAS), are almost exclusively focused on developing the oil shale of North Dakota. Kodiak has invested heavily over the past few years, which has enabled the company to grow its production from just 1,260 barrels of oil equivalent per day, or BOE/d, in 2010 to a plan of at least 30,000 BOE/d this year. Oasis has experienced a similar growth trajectory, growing from just 3,300 BOE/d in 2010 to an estimate of at least 31,500 BOE/d by the end of the year. The extra 60,000 BOE/d that these two companies are producing is oil that America no longer needs to import, thereby increasing our nation's energy security.
Final Foolish thoughts
While the nation still has a long way to go until we can declare our independence from foreign oil, it is a future that is growing more real by the day. If it wasn't for the technological advancements of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, we'd still be worried about our ever-increasing need for foreign oil. Instead, we have become OPEC's worst nightmare.