US May Soon Be World's Biggest Oil Producer Again

Output on course to surpass Russia, Saudi Arabia
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 12, 2018 12:11 AM CDT
Oil pump jacks work in unison in Williston, ND.   (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)
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(Newser) – The US is on pace to leapfrog both Saudi Arabia and Russia and reclaim the title of the world's biggest oil producer for the first time since the 1970s. The latest forecast from the US Energy Information Administration predicts that US output will grow next year to 11.8 million barrels a day, the AP reports. "If the forecast holds, that would make the US the world's leading producer of crude," says Linda Capuano, who heads the agency, a part of the Energy Department. Saudi Arabia and Russia could upend that forecast by boosting their own production, something President Trump has urged the Saudis to do to contain rising prices.

The United States led the world in oil production for much of the 20th century, but the Soviet Union surpassed America in 1974, and Saudi Arabia did the same in 1976, according to Energy Department figures. The last decade or so has seen a revolution in American energy production, however, led by techniques including hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, and horizontal drilling. The US has been pumping more than 10 million barrels a day on average since February, and probably pumped about 10.9 million barrels a day in June, the energy agency says. But the price may not hold: Marketwatch reports that oil futures saw their biggest slump in 13 months on Wednesday amid global economic worries.

(Read more oil production stories.)

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