The oil production of the United States is on a sharp upward climb, and that should please anyone who is rooting for American energy independence.

That won’t happen in the next year or two, but the experts predict that within the next decade, the nation’s oil imports could decrease by half.

Right now, the U.S. is producing about 10.9 million barrels of crude and other hydrocarbons — representing a 7 percent increase from last year until this year.

That is strong growth that even the experts didn’t foresee.

“Five years ago, if I or anyone had predicted today’s production growth, people would have thought we were crazy,” said Jim Burkhard, head of oil markets research at IHS CERA, an energy consulting firm.

The recent growth in America’s oil production has placed the U.S. in the running for worldwide leader, a distinction that would have us pass Saudi Arabia and Russia, which have led the world for a decade.

The current upward trend is likely to continue.

The U.S. government predicts that the figure for next year will be 11.4 million barrels a day, just less than Saudi Arabia’s 11.6 million barrels.

America will not be independent of the world energy market anytime soon.

But it is good to see an increased domestic production fueling a healthy trend away from foreign oil and toward the oil that’s produced right here in the Gulf of Mexico and across the U.S.

— The Courier, Houma, La.,

Oct. 25

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