According to a new report from the U.S. Department of Energy’s information service, U.S. crude oil production is expected to increase by 760,000 barrels a day in 2012, an all-time record.
“This is the largest rise in annual output since the beginning of U.S. commercial crude oil production in 1859,” EIA Administrator Adam Sieminski said in a statement.
Increased drilling in the shale formations in North Dakota, Montana and Texas are behind this boost in output.
Total U.S. crude oil production is on target to reach 6.4 million barrels per day in 2012, the highest for any year since 1997.
In today’s report the EIA has also revised its predictions for crude oil production in 2013, now forecasting that U.S. will produce more than 7 million barrels per day for the first time since 1992.
The news comes just a week after the EIA released a report saying that the U.S. will become increasingly energy independent in the next three decades as it boosts its production of oil, natural gas and renewable power such as solar and wind.
Oil industry analysts expect that an increase in U.S. crude oil production should help push gas prices lower.
The national average for gas is $3.35 a gallon, up from over 6 cents a year ago but down less than 5 cents from a week ago, according to the Energy Department.