Domestic oil production is rising, but at what cost?

Tools like artificial lift could help oil companies increase production numbers without compromising environmental integrity

As the United States continues its push toward becoming the world's number one oil producer, it is making positive strides along the way, even if some individuals aren't pleased with the way the country is getting there.

According to a report from the Energy Information Administration, the United States produced 6.5 million barrels per day in September, a year-over-year increase of 900,000 barrels. Not only does this represent substantial growth from 2011's recorded output, it is the highest BPD rate since 1998.

While most people are pleased with the overall results pertaining to the country's increased crude oil production, not everyone is happy with the growth-inducing methods being implemented in the U.S. Fracking is one of the biggest contributors to increasingly high domestic production, but some protesters still insist the practice is environmentally dangerous.

However, not everyone is on board with the detractors, including a number of politicians who have deemed fracking safe and have, in fact, praised it for improving domestic output numbers.

"Lawmakers have lauded fracking for ushering in an era of greater energy self-sufficiency," writes Zack Colman in the online publication The Hill. "The method helped turn the U.S. into a net oil exporter in 2011 for the first time since 1949."

Regardless, oilfield producers should continue to search for innovative new ways to extract oil that both continues the country's current path toward self-sustainability while mitigating the risk of a harmful environmental impact. Implementing the correct oilfield equipment that builds efficiency into daily operations and improves the speed and safety of extraction processes can go a long way in providing a happy medium that satisfies those trying to protect the environment and those asking for increased oil production.