The U.S. Department of Energy says U.S. oil production for the week ending January 4 exceeded 7 million barrels a day for the first time in two decades.
The report, released Wednesday, said the weekly average output is a 1.16 million barrel increase from the same week last year. The jump is attributed to improved exploration and drilling techniques.
The Energy Information Administration — the statistical arm of the energy department — predicted in a separate report Tuesday that U.S. crude oil production will rise this year by the largest amount on record.
The EIA said the United States will pump an average 7.32 million barrels a day this year and 7.92 million in 2014.
Analysts say the rapid production increase underscores how improvements in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing technology — commonly known as fracking — have transformed the energy market in the past half decade.
The Paris-based International Energy Agency said in November that U.S. oil production is on track to surpass Saudi Arabia by 2020.
Data compiled by Bloomberg shows the Saudi kingdom — the world's largest oil exporter — pumped just over 9.5 million barrels a day in December.