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U.S. Energy Production Saw Steepest Drop On Record In 2020

Due to economic responses to the pandemic, U.S. energy production dropped by 5 percent last year, marking the steepest annual decline on record, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said on Thursday.

Last year, energy production in the United States fell to just below 96 quadrillion British thermal units (quads), a 5-percent decline from the record production in 2019, according to EIA’s Monthly Energy Review. The decline in absolute terms was the largest annual decrease in U.S. energy production on record, and this decline was primarily due to the pandemic, which slashed demand for energy.

The EIA calculates and compares different types of energy reported in different physical units such as barrels or cubic feet by converting sources of energy to common units of heat, called British thermal units (Btu).

Due to plunging drilling activity amid low oil prices, U.S. crude oil production fell by nearly 1 million barrels per day (bpd) last year, registering the largest annual decline in history, the EIA said earlier this year.

In 2020, U.S. crude oil production averaged 11.3 million bpd, dropping by 935,000 bpd—or 8 percent—compared to the record-high annual average of 12.2 million bpd in 2019.

Less than two months after American crude oil production reached a peak of 12.8 million bpd in January 2020, oil prices collapsed in March, leading to production shut-ins over the following months, and to the lowest average monthly production for 2020 in May, when U.S. output was just 10 million bpd, according to EIA’s estimates.

U.S. coal production also booked its largest annual decline on record last year, falling by 25 percent to less than 11 quads, the EIA said today.

Natural gas production also dropped in 2020, by 0.6 quads, or by 2 percent.

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U.S. renewable energy production, however, rose by 2 percent to a record-high 11.8 quads in 2020, due to higher electricity generation from wind and solar, the EIA said.

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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