EIA Sees The U.S. Becoming Net Oil Exporter In Q4 2020

Continuously rising U.S. shale production will make the United States a net exporter of crude oil and petroleum products in the fourth quarter of 2020, the EIA said in its January Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO), which offered a first glimpse into the administration’s forecasts for 2020.

The EIA has estimated that U.S. crude oil production averaged 10.9 million bpd in 2018, rising by 1.6 million bpd from 2017 and reaching its highest level and seeing its largest volume growth on record. This year, America’s crude oil production is expected to average 12.1 million bpd in 2019, while crude production in 2020 is seen averaging 12.9 million bpd, with most of the growth coming from the Permian.

“If the domestic and global forecasts are realized, crude oil production at these levels would allow the United States to maintain its status as the world’s leading crude oil producer in both years,” the EIA said.

Thanks to the booming domestic production, the U.S. net imports of crude oil and petroleum products have been diminishing in recent years. This doesn’t mean that the U.S. is not importing large volumes of crude and petroleum products; rather, it means that exports of crude oil and oil products are continuously rising.

In the week to November 30, 2018, the U.S. exported more crude oil and petroleum products than it imported for the first time in weekly data going back to 1991, the EIA has estimated.

“However, the United States still imports more crude oil than it exports: in September 2018, the most recent monthly data, the United States imported 7.6 million b/d and exported 2.1 million b/d. U.S. exports of petroleum products have continued to increase, and in 2017, the United States was a net exporter of several petroleum products such as motor gasoline, distillate, hydrocarbon gas liquids, and jet fuel,” according to the EIA.

Last year, U.S. net imports of crude oil and petroleum product are estimated to have dropped to an average of 2.4 million bpd, from an average of 3.8 million bpd in 2017. Net imports are expected to continue to fall, to an average of 1.1 million bpd this year, and to less than 100,000 bpd in 2020. In the fourth quarter of 2020, the EIA forecasts the United States will be a net exporter of crude oil and petroleum products, by about 900,000 bpd.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com