U.S. Poised to Surpass Saudi Arabia as World’s Top Crude Oil Producer

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Soaring domestic production levels means the U.S. is ready to pass both Saudi Arabia and Russia to reclaim the title of the world’s biggest crude oil producer. It last held that position in 1974.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration made the forecast and predicts that U.S. output will grow next year to 11.8 million barrels a day. The rise comes on the back of  U.S. innovation in the field of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, and horizontal drilling.

As a consequence, American oil imports could drop as low as 1.6 million barrels a day, which would be the lowest level since 1958.

“If the forecast holds, that would make the U.S. the world’s leading producer of crude,” says Linda Capuano, who heads the agency, a part of the Energy Department.

Saudi Arabia and Russia could upend that forecast by lifting their own production. In the face of fluctuating global oil prices, members of the OPEC cartel and a few non-members including Russia agreed last month to ease production caps that had contributed to ramping prices.

President Donald Trump has urged the Saudis to open their taps to contain rising prices. He tweeted on June 30 that King Salman agreed to boost production “maybe up to 2,000,000 barrels.”

In March, the International Energy Agency made the same prediction, observing American oil production will soar over the next five years, supplying much of the world’s growing demand for oil.

U.S. production of crude oil, condensates, and natural gas liquids will rise to 17 million barrels a day by 2023, up from 13.2 million in 2017, according to IAE’s forecast. As a result, U.S. production will supply around 80 percent of the increased global supply of oil, which the IAE sees rising 6.4 million barrels per day to 107 million barrels a day.

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