America’s looming dominance in crude production started about 100 million years ago.
Ash from hundreds of volcano flare-ups during the time when the Tyrannosaurus rex roamed North America was key to forming the oil-rich layers of shale rock, from the Permian Basin in Texas to the Bakken in North Dakota, according to a study led by Rice University professor Cin-Ty Lee in Houston.
The energy bounty that pioneers like
EOG Resources Inc. started tapping with fracking techniques — supplies that are now elevating the U.S. to the ranks of the world’s biggest oil producers, rivaling Russia and Saudi Arabia — probably wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the high concentration of carbon the volcanoes provided.
Between all those ash-spewing eruptions during the Cretaceous and the development of horizontal drilling, everything has been laid out for U.S. production to surpass 11 million barrels a day by October. That’s how soon the Energy Information Administration expects the milestone to be reached, putting the U.S. at par with top producer Russia.