Published: Thu, September 13, 2018
Business | By Tara Barton

US 'likely' has taken over as the world's top oil producer

US 'likely' has taken over as the world's top oil producer

Move over, Russian Federation - and Saudi Arabia, too: The United States is now the world's largest producer of crude oil. Other sources used to inform these estimates include data from major producing companies, global organizations (such as the worldwide Energy Agency), and industry publications, among others.

If those estimates are right, it would mark the first time since 1973 that the US has led the world in output, according to government figures.

USA crude oil production, particularly from light sweet crude oil grades, has rapidly increased since 2011.

Fracking is driving a drilling boom in the Permian Basin under Texas and New Mexico.

The EIA said US production of crude oil surpassed Saudi Arabia in February and then exceeded Russian Federation in June and August. Further, U.S. crude production in June exceeded Russia's crude oil output for the first time since February of 1999. The pace of drilling slowed after oil prices tumbled starting in 2014, but roared back as operators learned to produce oil more efficiently and crude prices rebounded.

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The oil price decline in mid-2014 resulted in USA producers reducing their costs and temporarily scaling back crude oil production.

Saudi Arabia's crude oil and other liquids production data are EIA internal estimates.

While Saudi Arabia is poised to boost supplies to Asia, Iran's sales in the world's fastest-growing oil-importing region have started to drop. Until the last few years, it seemed far-fetched that the USA would ever regain the No. 1 spot.

In 2014, a drop in oil prices caused US crude oil companies to trim overhead and downsize production.

That assessment confirms an International Energy Agency prediction in March that America would soon be No. 1, and it should keep that slot through 2019, at least.

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