In yet another testament to just how big a thank-you the Obama administration owes to the oil-and-gas industry and particularly hydraulic fracturing for helping to spur onward what has otherwise very largely been a paltry excuse for an economic “recovery,” the Energy Information Administration released their 2014 energy outlook report on Monday — and the United States has not only far and away surpassed the EIA’s own forecasts of yesteryear but is on track to hit new production records. The Financial Times summarizes:

US crude oil production will come close to its record highs in just three years time as the shale boom sends output soaring, according to the government’s Energy Information Administration.

The forecast marks a spectacular reversal from the assumptions of five years ago, when US crude production appeared to be in inexorable long-term decline.

The EIA said on Monday that it had revised sharply higher its estimates of future US crude output to about 9.5m barrels a day in 2016. That is very close to the previous peak in US production of 9.6m b/d in 1970 and almost double its low point of 5m b/d in 2008. …

A year ago, the EIA was predicting US crude production of about 7.5m b/d in the second half of this decade, a level that has already been surpassed this year. …

For natural gas, meanwhile, the EIA is predicting continued indefinite growth in production. Gas is easier to produce than oil from shale and other “tight” rocks, and by 2040 the EIA expects US production to be 56 per cent higher than in 2012.

A major surge in oil production, and indefinite growth in natural gas — and yet we’re still holding back on increasing exports on both counts? “How Not to Unleash Your Economy,” anyone? Because there are plenty of potential buyers out there ready and rarin’ for us to get on it, via Reuters:

European negotiators, hoping to cut fuel bills, will press their U.S. counterparts in Washington this week on including energy exports in a transatlantic trade pact that aims to integrate two markets accounting for half the world’s economy.

Bringing politically sensitive energy into the debate stands to complicate talks spanning agriculture to finance, but the rewards could be big for the European Union, where natural gas prices are around three times those in the United States. …

“There is no reason why U.S. natural gas should be reserved for users in the United States,” said a senior EU official close to the negotiations.

Nope — especially not if the United States wants to take even better advantage of our thriving oil-and-gas sector by opening it up to the economic benefits of free trade on a more global market.