U.S. could outpace Saudi oil production

6:28 AM, Oct 25, 2012   |    comments
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GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. - The United States may surpass Saudi Arabia as the number one oil producer by 2020, according to the Associated Press.

The news has caused some to wonder if energy independence is a reality.

"We might have a very bright future in the area of energy going forward," said economist and University of St. Thomas finance Professor Dave Vang.

A lot of that U.S. oil production is happening in North Dakota where money is flowing in, about two billion dollars a month on drilling alone, and tons of oil is flowing out.

North Dakota is now the second leading oil producer in the U.S.

"This is kind of an overnight thing," said North Dakota legislator Gary Sukut.

During a recent visit near the oil fields in Williston, North Dakota, Sukut told KARE 11, thanks to new technologies, drilling oil has almost been a sure thing in North Dakota.

"You're now down to where you're having just about a 100 percent success ratio," said the Republican.

What does that mean for us?

"Energy independence means we won't have to run as big of deficits," said Vang.

Vang believes our chances of becoming energy independent are rising, which means our gas prices may eventually be falling.

"I wouldn't be surprised if we might see over the next five years gas below two dollars again," he said.

But certain things have to fall into place for that to happen, including building more oil refineries, he says.

"The one choke point that will slow down the ability to get cheap gas is going to be the refine capacity," he said.

But not everyone is convinced. The Associated Press reports high prices at the pump will mostly likely remain because of growing demand for oil in developing nations and political instability in other parts of the world.

Then there are the environmental concerns over drilling, which is why some believe utilizing renewable resources is the way to go.

Either way, the increase production of oil in the United States is causing people to think energy independence is closer than first thought.

"I think we're very much turning the corner," said Vang.

(Copyright 2012 by KARE. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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