U.S. becomes net exporter of petroleum, Illinois oil production remains steady

Brook Schyler | WSIL

For the first time in nearly 75 years, the United States has become a net exporter of petroleum, which consists of crude oil and natural gas liquids.

Seth Whitehead, Executive Director of the Illinois Petroleum Resource board, says shale drilling in places such as Texas and New Mexico, over the past ten years, is mainly responsible for the breakthrough in petroleum.

Although there’s no shale drilling in Illinois, oil production is still a major part of the economy. The state’s oil wells pump 8-9 million barrels of crude oil annually. That’s just one day’s worth of crude oil production for the entire country.

“It’s a small piece of the pie, but the impact that our small industry has on the state is anything but small,” Whitehead says.

Illinois has about 650 oil fields, mostly located in the southern part of the state. Whitehead says the industry directly employs 4,000 workers, mostly in White and Lawrence counties.

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