Steve Forbes offers Forbes magazine readers his assessment of the recent boom in the U.S. energy sector.

AT THE RECENT FORBES Global CEO Conference in Singapore renowned energy expert Daniel Yergin pointed out a remarkable fact that underscores the extraordinary change in the U.S. energy picture. After decades of decline in domestic oil production and growing dependence on foreign oil sources, the situation has been stunningly reversed by the use of revolutionary methods in drilling for oil and natural gas. The increase in U.S. oil production since 2008 (more than 4 million barrels per day) now exceeds the total output of every member of OPEC but one, Saudi Arabia.

Several lessons emerge from this.

–Entrepreneurship trumps all. The revolution in drilling was a result of the creativity and innovation that are the hallmarks of free markets. For years the accepted–and touted–wisdom was that global oil production, particularly in the U.S., had peaked. But entrepreneurs are never constrained by what is.

–Governments kill innovation. Most oil production is controlled by state-owned companies or entities that are virtual partners of government. Such organizations do things the way they’ve always done them and fall into ruts. Free markets routinely upend the status quo. Look at Mexico. Its government gets one-third of its revenue from state-owned Pemex. Corruption and political pressure to cough up money for the ever expanding appetites of politicians and their allies have severely stunted investment and innovation. The revolution in American drilling and the decline in Pemex’s production have finally forced Mexico to make a contentious and portentous change, allowing private companies to enter Mexico’s energy sector for the first time since 1938, when private oil companies were nationalized.

–Mineral rights, the U.S.’ not-so- secret superweapon. The U.S. is about the only country that allows individuals and private companies to own the minerals beneath their land. Discover oil or natural gas in your backyard and you can get rich fast. But in Mexico and most other places, you’re out of luck: Those minerals are the property of the government. That’s why wildcatters–entrepreneurs who are always searching for new oil sources or finding ways to extract more oil from supposedly spent wells–are a U.S. phenomenon.