Energy Superpower: US Oil Exports Forecast To Exceed Most OPEC Members By 2020

  • Date: 11/07/17
  • Financial Times

The US will quadruple its crude oil exports to volumes greater than those of most Opec members within three years, an influential consultant has forecast, as Texas producers seek customers for seemingly unstoppable supplies.

By 2020, exports of US crude would reach 2.25m barrels a day, according to PIRA Energy. By comparison, last year Kuwait exported 2.1m b/d, Nigeria 1.7m b/d and the US itself 520,000 b/d.

The forecast suggests that the Opec exporters’ cartel faces a drawn-out struggle as it tries to raise crude prices by curtailing output in the face of a prolific US shale oil industry, which has roared back to life in 2017 as prices have recovered and averaged near $50 a barrel. US crude production is likely to hit 9.3m b/d this year, up from 8.9m b/d in 2016, and will rise to 9.9m b/d in 2018, the US Energy Information Administration estimated on Tuesday.

“The US will become one of the top 10 exporters in the world,” said Gary Ross, PIRA’s global head of oil. “They’re not a member of Opec, and they’re not about to control production in an effort to keep prices up. This is very bad news for Opec.”

The US prohibited most exports of crude oil until late 2015, when Barack Obama signed legislation overturning the 40-year-old ban. Since then, American barrels have been flowing to new markets such as Europe and China. The Trump administration has embraced the trend as it pursues a vision of “energy dominance”.

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