US Economy
US set to become world’s leading liquid petroleum producer again
By Michael Hennigan, Finfacts founder and editor
Sep 30, 2014 - 4:20 AM

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The US is set to overtake Saudi Arabia as the world's leading liquid petroleum producer again according to data from the International Energy Agency (IEA).

The Financial Times says that US production of oil and related liquids such as ethane and propane was neck-and-neck with Saudi Arabia in June and again in August at about 11.5m barrels a day, according to the IEA, the energy watchdog for industrialised countries. The US should overtake Saudi Arabia in the next two months.

The FT says Brent crude hit its lowest level in more than two years last week at about $95.60 a barrel, down from a peak of over $125 a barrel early in 2012.

Over that period, the growth in US production of more than 3.5m b/d,  boosted by shale fracking, has almost equalled the entire increase in world oil supplies.

The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) says that the share of total US liquid fuels consumption met by net imports fell from 60% in  2005 to an average of 32% in 2013. EIA expects the net import share to decline to 21% in 2015, which would be the lowest level since 1968.

Total US crude oil production averaged an estimated 8.6m barrels per day (bbl/d) in August, the highest monthly production since July 1986. Total crude oil production, which  averaged 7.5m bbl/d in 2013, is expected to average 9.5m bbl/d in 2015, 0.2m bbl/d higher than projected in last month's STEO (Short Term Energy Outlook) . If achieved, the 2015 forecast would be the highest annual average crude oil production since 1970 - - crude production is up from 5m b/d in 2008.

Natural gas plant liquids production increases from an average of 2.6m bbl/d in 2013 to 3.1m bbl/d in 2015. The growth in domestic liquids production has contributed to a significant decline in petroleum imports.

The EIA says ethanol production increased from an average of 907,000 bbl/d in March to average about 940,000 bbl/d over the past 3 months, which are among the highest monthly levels ever recorded, and included the highest weekly level ever recorded at 972,000 bbl/d for the week ending June 13. Ethanol production is forecast to average 929,000 bbl/d in 2014 and 934,000 bbl/d in 2015. Biodiesel production averaged 87,000 bbl/d in 2013 and is forecast to average 80,000 bbl/d in 2014 and 84,000 bbl/d in 2015.

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