The United States could push past Russia and Saudi Arabia as the world's largest single producer of oil and of natural gas this year, a US government agency said Friday.
While the US was roughly even with Russia as the top producer in 2012 of the two hydrocarbon fuels combined, it still lagged the longtime leader Saudi Arabia as an oil producer.
But helped by the boom in hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, production from shale deposits, the US will surpass the Saudis in oil in 2013, making it the world leader in each fuel, the US Energy Information Administration said.
The EIA said that US petroleum production had increased dramatically over the past five years due to production in Texas and North Dakota, where the exploitation of shale-based reserves by controversial fracking techniques has rocketed.
Meanwhile, natural gas production has shot up thanks to fracking-based production in the eastern part of the country, particularly in Pennsylvania.
The EIA gave no detailed figures, but a chart with the report showed US production of the two hydrocarbons combined would near almost 25 million barrels of oil-equivalent per day this year, well above Russian production this year.
Saudi Arabia produces a relatively small amount of natural gas.