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U.S. On Track To Unseat Saudi Arabia As No.2 Oil Producer In the World

Pennsylvania drilling rig

New forecasts from the International Energy Agency say the United States is on track to overtake Saudi Arabia as the second-largest oil producer in the world, just behind Russia, according to the organization’s report on Friday.

"This year promises to be a record-setting one for the US," the IEA wrote in its monthly market report. "Relentless growth should see the US hit historic highs above 10 million barrels per day, overtaking Saudi Arabia and rivaling Russia during the course of 2018 – provided OPEC/non-OPEC restraints remain in place.”

OPEC players have been wary of the strength of the American shale market as the nation’s products reach new countries every month.

"US growth in 2017 beat all expectations ... as the shale industry bounced back, profiting from cost cuts, (and) stepped up drilling activity," the IEA added. "Explosive growth in the US and substantial gains in Canada and Brazil will far outweigh potentially steep declines in Venezuela and Mexico. The big 2018 supply story is unfolding fast in the Americas.”

Oil prices are currently at levels at which U.S. production could substantially increase. According to the Q4 Dallas Fed Energy Survey published at end-December, 42 percent of executives at 132 oil and gas firms expect the U.S. oil rig count to substantially increase if WTI prices are between $61 and $65 a barrel.

EIA’s latest Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO) from last week estimated that U.S. crude oil production averaged 9.3 million bpd in the whole of 2017, and 9.9 million bpd in December alone. This year, U.S. crude oil production is seen averaging 10.3 million bpd in 2018, beating a record dating back to 1970. For 2019, the EIA expects U.S. production to increase to an average of 10.8 million bpd, and to surpass 11 million bpd in November next year.

By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com

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  • Robert M Parisi on February 04 2018 said:
    Mamdouh G Salameh Production Stats Are Correct: But the KSA Needs Nat Gas Desperately!

    The remarks that "Mamdouh G Salameh" are absolutely correct, and I frankly don't understand why they are in dispute. The Energy issue facing Saudi Arabia, domestically, is to procure enough Natural Gas to meet its exploding demand, based largely on Oil's misuse as an Electric generation 'Feedstock'.

    The KSA's Oil & Nat Gas Consumption Is Overtaking Domestic Production!

    The KSA although blessed with easily accessed Crude Oil of high quality, faces limited access to "market quality" Natural Gas, and has to settle for high Sulfur "Sour Gas" from domestic sources for much of its needs. Although the Ghawar field yields 2 Bcf daily, that's a mere pittance compared to the 4 Tcf they consume annually. Add to that, they have been forced to waste Crude Oil to the growing tune of over 1.25 Million Barrels per day, for Electricity where natural gas would do better. The result, the KSA consumes over 4 million barrels of oil daily, compared to ~1/10th that much 40 years ago, and 5th in the World! That's more than Japan, Mexico or Canada and almost twice as much as Germany, whose population, @ 82.67 million in 2016 is almost triple Saudi Arabia's and whose Economy, @ 3.65 Trillion, GDP, is almost 6x the KSA's, @ ~$646 Billion for 2016! So really they need to find an additional 2 Tcf annually either by import or by developing Gas fields in Jordan and the KSA.

    At this of increased domestic consumption, Saudi Arabia may become a Net Energy importer within the next 10-15 years unless Natural Gas is developed rather than flared off or wasted, and conservation methods by KSA consumers is encouraged. One needs to recall that price of oil and energy products is subsidized so that waste is encouraged. Gasoline currently retails for .91 cents per gallon, natural gas is 75 cents per thousand cubic feet [versus $16-17 in Japan and $3-4 in the U.S.] and Electricity sells for 3.2 cents per kilowatt! Hence, very little reason to conserve energy.
  • Terry on January 21 2018 said:
    President Trump opened up the US continental shelf to drilling.
  • Joe Lunchpal on January 20 2018 said:
    Still about 10 million bbl per day short.

    With the US government shutdown perhaps the EIA can go into rehab for a much needed reality check and take their buddy the IEA with them, OPEC will help pay for the stay.
  • Mamdouh G Salameh on January 20 2018 said:
    This is pure hypothesis and wishful thinking on the part of the International Energy Agency (IEA) as the OPEC/non-OPEC production cut agreement will not be there forever.

    Saudi Arabia has the potential and the excess production capacity to remain the number 2 producer in the world after Russia.

    Three years ago, the 2015 issue of BP Statistical Review claimed that the United States had overtaken both Saudi Arabia and Russia in 2014 to emerge as the world’s top crude oil producer with an average daily production of 11.64 (mbd) compared to 11.51 mbd for Saudi Arabia and 10.84 mbd for Russia. It transpired that US production in 2014 amounted to 8.76 mbd compared to 9.71 mbd for Saudi Arabia and 10.09 for Russia according to OPEC 2017 Annual Statistical Bulletin.

    The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimated in its latest Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO) that US crude oil production averaged 9.3 mbd bpd in 2017 when in fact it was 8.944 mbd, some 356,000 b/d less.

    EIA claims have become so questionable that one has to take their projections about
    US crude oil production averaging 10.3 mbd in 2018 and 10.8 mbd in 2019 and surpassing 11 million bpd in November next year with a huge pinch of salt.

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Visiting Professor of Energy Economics at ESCP Europe Business School, London

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