(EnergyAsia, March 18 2014, Tuesday) — Thanks to the shale revolution, US crude oil production reached a 25-year high of 7.5 million b/d last year after surging 14.8% from 6.53 million b/d in 2012, said the Energy Information Administration (EIA).

The agency expects the gains to continue over the next two years, raising production to 8.4 million b/d in 2014 and 9.2 million b/d next year. US production of conventional crude peaked at 9.6 million b/d in 1970.

The onshore shale and unconventional fields of the Bakken, Eagle Ford and Permian formations will account for the bulk of the new flows, while the Gulf of Mexico will add 140,000 b/d in 2014 and a further 210,000 b/d in 2015.

Boosted by the projected start-up of eight projects this year and another 10 the following, the Department of Energy agency expects the Gulf of Mexico to yield 1.6 million b/d of crude by 2015.

“The 15% increase in US production from 2012 to 2013 was the largest annual percentage increase since 1940. The increase in domestic production supported high refinery utilisation rates, reduced US imports of crude oil, and changed domestic and global crude oil and petroleum product trade flows,” said the EIA.

As a result of higher domestic production, US net oil imports fell to 7.6 million b/d last year for their lowest level since 1996. Net imports of crude oil were down 10% or 861,000 b/d in 2013.

Texas and North Dakota together accounted for 83% of US crude production growth, with Oklahoma, New Mexico and Colorado contributing the bulk of the remaining gains.

Production in the Eagle Ford formation in South Texas reached an estimated 1.22 million b/d last December while the Bakken formation in North Dakota and Montana averaged 900,000 b/d in 2013.

The surge in these mostly shale-based fields was offset by declines in several mature fields in seven states and the Gulf of Mexico.

The EIA said production from the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska accounted for most of the decline, each falling by 2%.