Thursday August 6th, 2020 6:09AM

US 'likely' has taken over as the world's top oil producer

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

The United States may have reclaimed the title of the world's biggest oil producer sooner than expected.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration said Wednesday that, based on preliminary estimates, America "likely surpassed" Russia in June and August after jumping over Saudi Arabia earlier this year.

If those estimates are right, it would mark the first time since 1973 that the U.S. has led the world in output, according to government figures.

The energy information administration and the International Energy Agency, a global group of oil-consuming nations, had predicted that the U.S. would eventually pass Russia and Saudi Arabia but possibly not until 2019.

U.S. production jumped in recent years because of techniques including hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," which is the use of chemicals, sand, water and high pressure to crack rock formations deep below ground, releasing more oil and natural gas.

Fracking is driving a drilling boom in the Permian Basin under Texas and New Mexico. The practice is controversial, however. Opponents say that fracking results in toxic contamination of groundwater and increases the number of earthquakes in places like Oklahoma and Texas.

The U.S. energy agency estimated that the United States produced an average of 10.9 million barrels a day in August, compared with about 10.8 million barrels a day by Russia and around 10.4 million from Saudi Arabia. It said the U.S. passed Saudi Arabia in February for the first time in more than two decades, and this summer it topped Russia for the first time since 1999.

The agency expects the U.S. will continue to top Russia and Saudi Arabia for the rest of this year and through 2019.

U.S. production has soared since 2011, led by output from the Permian Basin, North Dakota and the Gulf of Mexico. The pace of drilling slowed after oil prices tumbled starting in 2014, but roared back as operators learned to produce oil more efficiently and crude prices rebounded.

Production has been relatively steady in Russia and Saudi Arabia, both of which took part in an OPEC agreement to limit output beginning in 2016 to drive up prices.

The U.S. agency said its data on Russian production comes mainly from the Russian Ministry of Oil but also oil companies and industry publications. The agency said figures on Saudi output are based on its own internal estimates.

The U.S. led the world in oil production for much of the last century until the Soviet Union and later Saudi Arabia passed it during the 1970s. Until the last few years, it seemed far-fetched that the U.S. would ever regain the No. 1 spot.

Daniel Yergin, author of "The Prize," a history of the oil industry, said the rebound of U.S. production helped avert a severe shortage of world oil that would have sent prices far higher.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Business, AP Business - Industries, AP Business - Utilities
© Copyright 2020
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Planned Parenthood picks Chinese-born doctor as new leader
Dr. Leana Wen, a Chinese immigrant who fled her native country when she was 8, has been named Planned Parenthood's new president, the first doctor to hold the post in five decades
3:44PM ( 4 minutes ago )
Academic in Trump probe hit with $56K fine, but where is he?
An Italian court has ruled against the Maltese academic whose comments to Donald Trump adviser George Papadopoulos triggered the Russia investigation now engulfing Washington
3:38PM ( 10 minutes ago )
South Sudan government and rebels sign another peace deal
South Sudan's warring parties on Wednesday signed what they say is the final peace agreement to end the country's five-year civil war, which has killed tens of thousands and displaced millions
3:33PM ( 14 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
The Latest: Apple's new deluxe iPhone to start at $1,100
Apple's newest iPhone will again test the limits of how much people are willing to pay for the latest technology.
2:51PM ( 56 minutes ago )
Bigger, pricier iPhone shown at Apple event Wednesday
Apple expands iPhone line-up with biggest, expensive model yet along with cheaper alternatives
2:48PM ( 59 minutes ago )
APNewsBreak: Iowa governor flew to game on vendor's plane
An Associated Press review has found that Iowa Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds received approval from a state regulator to fly for free to Iowa State's bowl game on a jet owned by a company that is a longtime state vendor
2:48PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Business
Florence could flood hog manure pits, coal ash dumps
Florence could flood manure pits, coal ash dumps and other industrial sites, creating toxic brew
1:19PM ( 2 hours ago )
"Monster" Hurricane Florence aims to drench Carolinas
Hurricane Florence is coming closer and getting stronger on a path to squat over North and South Carolina for days, surging over the coast, dumping feet of water deep inland and causing floods from the sea to the Appalachian Mountains and back again
10:47AM ( 5 hours ago )
Philippines braces for most powerful typhoon this year
Philippine officials say they plan to evacuate thousands of villagers, shut down schools and offices and scramble to harvest rice and corn as the most powerful typhoon so far this year menacingly roared toward the country's north
10:30AM ( 5 hours ago )
AP Business - Industries
Asian stocks fall as China reacts to US tariffs
Asian shares are falling as China delayed issuing licenses to American businesses hoping to operate in the country amid the looming threat of more trade tariffs from Washington looms
2:29AM ( 13 hours ago )
The Latest: Airlines cancel flights ahead of Florence
Airlines are beginning to cancel flights ahead of Hurricane Florence making landfall later this week
11:46PM ( 16 hours ago )
The Latest: 5.4M people under hurricane watches, warnings
The threat of punishing winds and potentially cataclysmic flooding from Hurricane Florence in portions of the Carolinas has motorists streaming inland
11:43PM ( 16 hours ago )
AP Business - Utilities
Francis calls clergy abuse summit as issue imperils papacy
Responding to the greatest crisis of his papacy, Pope Francis summons presidents of bishops' conferences to summit on preventing clergy sex abuse
3:31PM ( 16 minutes ago )
Singer Rachid Taha, who fused Arabic music and rock, dies
Algerian singer Rachid Taha, who thrillingly blended Arabic music with rock and techno and at times wore blue contact lenses to protest anti-Arab prejudice in his adoptive France, has died
3:16PM ( 32 minutes ago )
Flickering trade hopes and tech stock losses hit US indexes
After a short-lived rally, US stocks are slightly lower overall as energy companies climb along with oil prices and technology companies skid
3:16PM ( 32 minutes ago )
Trump OKs sanctions for foreigners who meddle in elections
President Donald Trump is authorizing sanctions against foreigners who meddle in U.S. elections
3:12PM ( 35 minutes ago )
Rays' Snell loses no-hit bid against Indians in 7th
Tampa Bay Rays ace Blake Snell lost his no-hit in the seventh inning when Cleveland's Jose Ramirez hit a leadoff homer
3:10PM ( 37 minutes ago )