By Barry Eitel
SAN FRANCISCO (AA) – The Department of Energy announced Wednesday that oil production in the United States topped 10 million barrels per day for the first time in 48 years.
The monthly report from the department’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) said that U.S. oil production in November of 2017 averaged 10.038 million barrels per day, increasing 384,000 barrels per day compared to October.
Production numbers were just below the record set in November, 1970, when the U.S. output averaged 10.044 million barrels per day.
The U.S. is now poised to become the top oil producer on earth – Saudi Arabia produced about 10.6 million barrels per day last year and Russia produces roughly 11 million barrels per day. Both nations agreed to cut back on production to increase prices, leaving the EIA to forecast earlier this month that the U.S. will drill more oil than any other country by the end of 2019.
The forecast said that U.S. production would average 10.8 million barrels per day in 2019 and would be more than 11 million barrels per day by November of next year. If the prediction is accurate, the U.S. beat both Saudi Arabia and Russia for the first time since 1975.
Much of the increased production in the U.S. is because more companies are drilling for shale oil since oil prices rose about 10 years ago. Many are expecting the nature of the international oil market to change drastically in the next five years as the U.S. continues to increase production as other nations slow down.
“Even in the face of strong U.S. shale oil growth, we continue to show global oil storage balance at a deficit to 2020,” the analyst firm HFI Research said of the EIA report. “The world needs U.S. shale growth.”
The U.S. is still a major importer of crude oil – the EIA report found that the country imported an average of 8 million barrels per day during January. U.S. oil production nears record set in 1970