NEW YORK – U.S. proved oil reserves grew by a record amount in 2011, according to a government report Thursday, in the latest indicator of the North American energy boom.
The U.S. added 3.8 billion barrels of crude in 2011, a 15% increase, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The amount represents a record volumetric increase in oil reserves for the second year in a row, EIA said.
Proved oil reserves stood at 29 billion barrels in 2011, the highest volume since 1985.
"Horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing in shale and other tight rock formations continued to increase oil and natural gas reserves," said EIA Administrator Adam Sieminski.
"Higher oil prices helped drive record increases in crude oil reserves, while natural gas reserves grew strongly despite slightly lower natural gas prices in 2011."
The data came as U.S. petroleum producers continue to push oil output to levels not seen since the early 1990s.
Energy companies have also boosted natural gas output in recent years due to the shale boom. While natural gas output varies monthly somewhat due to incremental investment decisions, U.S. natural gas production has been at record levels in recent years.
The U.S. added 31.2 trillion cubic feet (0.9 trillion cubic meters) of natural gas reserves in 2011, an increase of 9.8%, the EIA said. The 2011 natural gas volumetric increase was the second largest in U.S. history after the 2010 rise.
It brought the nation's natural gas reserves to 348.8 trillion cubic feet.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2013