The reason that U.S. oil companies haven't increased production is simple: They decided to use their billions in profits to pay dividends to their CEOs and wealthy shareholders and simply haven't chosen to invest in new oil production.
The biggest reason oil production isn't increasing is that U.S. energy companies and Wall Street investors are not sure that prices will stay high long enough for them to make a profit from drilling lots of new wells.
Where The U.S. Gets Its Oil. America is one of the world's largest oil producers, and close to 40 percent of U.S. oil needs are met at home. Most of the imports currently come from five countries: Canada, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Venezuela and Nigeria.
The U.S does indeed produce enough oil to meet its own needs. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), in 2020 America produced 18.4 million barrels of oil per day and consumed 18.12 million.
Russia has oil and gas production facilities throughout the country, but the bulk of its fields are concentrated in western and eastern Siberia. In 2021 Russia exported an estimated 4.7 million bpd of crude, to countries around the world.
Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands—members of both the EU and NATO—were among the largest importers, with only China surpassing them. China overtook Germany as the largest importer, importing nearly 2 million barrels of discounted Russian oil per day in May—up 55% relative to a year ago.
Crude oil is not a homogenous product. The U.S. continues to import and export crude oil because the viscosity of oil (measured by its API gravity) being light or heavy and its sulfur content being low (sweet) or high (sour) largely determine the processes needed to refine it into fuel and other products.
What Is Keystone XL? The Keystone XL pipeline extension, proposed by TC Energy (then TransCanada) in 2008, was initially designed to transport the planet's dirtiest fossil fuel, tar sands oil, to market—and fast.
As to why they weren't drilling more, oil executives blamed Wall Street. Nearly 60% cited "investor pressure to maintain capital discipline" as the primary reason oil companies weren't drilling more despite skyrocketing prices, according to the Dallas Fed survey.
The United States has proven reserves equivalent to 4.9 times its annual consumption. This means that, without imports, there would be about 5 years of oil left (at current consumption levels and excluding unproven reserves).
Production of oil by U.S. energy companies is essentially flat and unlikely to increase substantially for at least another year or two. If Europe stops buying Russian oil and natural gas as some of its leaders have promised, they won't be able to replace that energy with fuels from the U.S. anytime soon.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) forecasts that U.S. crude oil production will average 11.9 million barrels per day this year and 12.8 million barrels per day in 2023, which would surpass the record average production of 12.3 million barrels per day set in 2019.
The country is also the world's largest consumer of oil, using about 21 million barrels per day in 2019 — 20% of the world's total. Buried under U.S. soil lies an estimated 38.2 billion barrels worth of proven oil reserves that are still untapped, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
The problem is that crude oil production declined in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic. Now that the economy is rebounding, with people returning to work and hitting the road, demand is outstripping supply.