U.S. surpasses Russia as output nears 11 MBOPD

The U.S. has, at long last, retaken the crown as the world’s largest crude oil producer, surpassing Saudi Arabia and Russia.

The EIA reports that preliminary numbers indicate U.S. crude output in August surpassed that of Russia, with the U.S. producing nearly 11 MMBOPD.

USA is Again the World’s Largest Crude Producer: EIA

1999 Prowler – when this car was manufactured was the last year the U.S. exceeded Russia in oil output

This is the first time American oil production has exceeded that of Russia since February 1999. The U.S. surpassed Saudi oil output earlier this year, first producing more oil in February.

USA is Again the World’s Largest Crude Producer: EIA

Source: EIA

The power of shale

This is the most recent major global oil and gas production milestone the U.S. has achieved through the power of the shale revolution. The U.S. has produced world-leading volumes of natural gas since 2010 and is well above Russia in that category.

The U.S. has also led the world in petroleum production, which includes crude oil, heavy oil, NGL, natural gas plant liquids and other liquids, since 2013.

The U.S. produced a combined 30 MMBOEPD in 2017, and it is on track to significantly exceed this level in 2018.

Current growth exceeds pre-downturn expansion

The U.S. would likely have achieved this honor around 2016 if not for the downturn, which saw crude oil production in the U.S. fall by 1.13 MMBOPD from April 2015 through September 2016. Producers adapted to lower oil prices rapidly, however, and soon after prices bottomed out activity began another boom.

After reaching as low as 8.52 MMBOPD in September, American oil output has roared to all-time highs. Preliminary data indicates the country is producing 10.75 MMBOPD, meaning oil output is currently growing even faster than it was before the downturn.

Russian and Saudi Arabian production, on the other hand, have shown only gradual change over the past decade. Crude production in both countries have risen, with Russia showing a steady rise and Saudi output more variable. However, neither has compared to the rapid growth seen in the U.S. over the past decade.

It is likely the U.S. will retain the crown of “world’s largest oil producer” for the near future, as neither Russia or Saudi Arabia is expected to significantly increase output.

While Russia could theoretically bring sufficient production back online to outproduce the U.S., the U.S.’s current growth rate means it would return to world’s largest oil producer rapidly, likely within mere months.

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