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US May Soon Grab Saudi Arabia’s Crown as World’s Biggest Oil Exporter – IEA

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According to an annual five-year outlook report by the International Energy Agency, the US became the world’s top oil producer in 2018, and is set to become the world’s biggest oil exporter over the next five years.

The agency suggested that US’ crude oil exports will nearly double, reaching about 9 million barrels per day by 2024, which means it has a tangible chance of surpassing Russia and even Saudi Arabia at that point.

The IEA’s forecast came just a few weeks after the US exported a record 3.6 million barrels of crude oil on a daily basis, with the country being also a major exporter of petroleum products including refined fuels.

“The second wave of the U.S. shale revolution is coming”, IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol said in a statement, as cited by CNBC.

“It will see the United States account for 70 percent of the rise in global oil production and some 75 percent of the expansion in LNG trade over the next five years. This will shake up international oil and gas trade flows, with profound implications for the geopolitics of energy”, Birol pointed out.

Crude oil storage tanks are seen from above at the Cushing oil hub, appearing to run out of space to contain a historic supply glut that hammered prices, in Cushing, Oklahoma, March 24, 2016
Oil prices have been offset this year by OPEC members’ output cuts, which they agreed upon last year, while US sanctions on the oil industries of OPEC countries Iran and Venezuela have also pushed supplies down.

The so-called OPEC+ alliance, including Russia and other producers, agreed in December to reduce supply by 1.2 million bpd from 1 January for six months, which will help to boost oil prices after last year’s downward trend. In particular, Saudi Arabia’s oil production in February fell to 10.136 million bpd, a Saudi industry source told Reuters on Friday, down from 10.24 million bpd in January.

According to the IEA, OPEC is currently putting its stake on Iraq as the major source of output growth from the alliance in the upcoming years, thereby compensating for a production downturn in US-sanctioned Iran and Venezuela.

While the agency sees electric cars and other cutting-edge advances curbing demand for petrol around the world, it assumed that increasing petrochemical and jet fuel consumption will still demand that pumps operate vigorously. The US was found to take the lead in oil demand growth around the globe:

“US oil consumption [growth] last year was about a half-million barrels per day, and as such it was the highest in all the countries around”, Birol noted on Monday.

“It was the first time that the United States in the last two decades was the No. 1 driver of oil consumption growth”.