The United States is close to leapfrogging Russia as the world's No. 1 energy producer, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday. How did it arrive at that analysis, and how did America catch up? Here's an explainer:
- Using figures from the International Energy Agency, WSJ tallied fuel production and weighted it by energy output in British thermal units—for example, a cubic foot of natural gas contains 1,028 Btus, while a barrel of oil comes in at 5.8 million.
- Taken together, U.S. fuel production in July was the equivalent of 22 million barrels of oil per day, more than a million barrels above last year's rate. Russia topped that by close to a million barrels, but recent gains show the U.S. is close to catching up.
- A big part of the U.S.'s rise is natural gas; last year America topped Russia as the global production leader.
- Horizontal drilling and fracturing to extract oil—techniques used little outside of the United States—have also contributed to the energy surge, opening new crude supplies.