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US May Soon Become World's Top Oil Producer

NEW YORK (AP) â¿¿ In a story Oct. 23 about the boom in U.S. oil production, The Associated Press misidentified the year and amount of peak U.S. oil output. U.S. oil output peaked in 1970 at 11.7 million barrels per day, not in 1985 at 11.2 million barrels per day.

A corrected version of the story is below:

US may soon become world's top oil producer

US could soon overtake Saudi Arabia as world's biggest oil producer; output is booming

By JONATHAN FAHEY

AP Energy Writer

NEW YORK (AP) â¿¿ U.S. oil output is surging so fast that the United States could soon overtake Saudi Arabia as the world's biggest producer.

Driven by high prices and new drilling methods, U.S. production of crude and other liquid hydrocarbons is on track to rise 7 percent this year to an average of 10.9 million barrels per day. This will be the fourth straight year of crude increases and the biggest single-year gain since 1951.

The boom has surprised even the experts.

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

The Energy Department forecasts that U.S. production of crude and other liquid hydrocarbons, which includes biofuels, will average 11.4 million barrels per day next year. That would be a 40-year high for the U.S. and just below Saudi Arabia's output of 11.6 million barrels. Citibank forecasts U.S. production could reach 13 million to 15 million barrels per day by 2020, helping to make North America "the new Middle East."

The last year the U.S. was the world's largest producer was 2002, after the Saudis drastically cut production because of low oil prices in the aftermath of 9/11. Since then, the Saudis and the Russians have been the world leaders.

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