In 2011, BP's Statistical Review of World Energy showed the U.S. consumed 18.8 million barrels per day of oil equivalent. That same year, the nation imported 11.3 million barrels per day.
But this level of imports, though high, has fallen 3% from 2010, a product of U.S. shale oil and gas production and horizontal drilling.
Companies continue to estimate high levels of recoverable oil and natural gas in their acreage, estimates that will contribute to increasing domestic production and decreasing foreign oil dependence.
One of these companies is Apache Corp. (NYSE: APA), a Houston-based company that explores for and produces oil and natural gas.
Apache has holdings in the U.S., Canada, Egypt, Argentina, and Kenya. Egypt is currently the company's highest production site, but new estimates indicate that this all could change.
The company is placing more focus on the U.S. now after estimating 3 billion barrels of crude contained within its acreage in Kansas, Nebraska, and Montana in the Mississippian Lime and Williston Basin.
With this potential, Apache estimates it could raise production to 1 million barrels per day by 2016, with U.S. production accounting for 41% of this. Last year, Apache produced 748,000 bpd in total, of which 21% was in the U.S.
The best part of the potential is this estimated increase would be done only with current acreage, according to CEO Steve Farris.
“We don't have to make acquisitions anymore,” Mr. Farris said at the company's annual analyst meeting. He said that the company has plenty of resources available for development, and that large purchases were not part of his plan.”
Farris called it “the beginning of a new life cycle” for the company.
Apache's other U.S. holdings include assets in the Permian Basin in Texas and New Mexico and in the Anadarko Basin.
It also had success in British Columbia, Canada, where one well in the Liard Basin extracted 21.3 million cubic feet daily in just the first 30 days.
“This is probably the best shale gas reservoir in the world,” John Bedingfield, the company's vice president of worldwide exploration, said at a company presentation on Thursday.
Apache estimates the reservoir could hold 48 trillion cubic feet of recoverable natural gas.
According to Apache's central region president Rob Johnston, the company's recent success was largely due to a change in “the way we do business.” Switching from vertical to horizontal wells, something that really only started occurring in Apache assets in 2008, made a huge difference in the total production.
And now the company is seeing record growth in production, creating jobs at its expanding sites and aiming for high domestic production.
Apache was down 2.14% on Monday to $85.92.