U.S. Net Oil Imports Approaching Lowest Level Since 1959

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Texans for Natural Gas | June 13, 2018

Rising domestic crude oil production and increased exports are causing a significant drop in net crude oil and petroleum imports, according to the latest data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). The new data are another piece of evidence that the shale revolution is making the United States more energy secure, while also strengthening the economy.

In its latest Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO), EIA predicts that net oil imports will decline to 1.6 million barrels per day (b/d) in 2019 – the lowest level in 60 years. U.S. crude oil production averaged 10.7 million b/d day in May, an increase of 80,000 b/d from April levels, and up an astonishing 700,000 b/d from the last two months of 2017.

This is significant because the 10 million b/d mark surpassed at the end of last year was a new record level of U.S. production, and a level of output not seen in almost 40 years. But the growth in U.S. production capacity shows no sign of slowing: EIA estimates U.S. crude production will average 11.8 million b/d in 2019, up 2.4 million b/d from the 2017 annual average.

But it’s not just U.S. oil production that is expected to see record production over the next year.

According to the STEO, U.S. dry natural gas production will average 81.2 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in 2018, a more than 10 percent increase from the 2017 production average and a new annual record. Moreover, EIA estimates that natural gas production will continue to rise in 2019, averaging an additional 2.6 Bcf/d relative to the 2018 average.

Like oil production, this increase in natural gas production will support additional export capacity. U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports are expected to average 3 Bcf/d in 2018, an increase of nearly 58 percent from the 2017 average. Further, with Dominion’s Cove Point facility coming online in Maryland, EIA estimates LNG exports to average 5.1 Bcf/d in 2019 – a 70 percent jump in just one year.

With technological advances spurring record levels of production, which in turn is improving U.S. energy security and driving greater oil and natural gas exports, the United States is poised to be a major player in the global market for years to come.