By SUMMER SAID
RIYADH -- Total US production of liquid fuels could equal or
surpass Saudi Arabia as early as next year, but crude oil
production will remain short of that in the Middle Eastern
energy giant, said the chief of the US Energy Information
US crude oil production will hit an average of 8 million bpd
by the end of next year, the highest annual-average level of
production since 1988 thanks to the boom in shale oil, the
EIA's administrator, Adam Sieminski, told Dow Jones
Newswires in an interview in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
This is likely to remain short of crude oil production in
Saudi Arabia, but adding in other liquid fuels, the US could
gain the top spot, he said.
The US also produces around 2.5 million bpd of natural
gas liquids, while biofuels and volumes gains through refinery processing add another 2
million bpd, he said. Saudi Arabia has around 10 million bpd of
crude production and 1.5 million bpd of natural
gas liquids, Mr. Sieminski said.
"If the U.S. gets up to 8 million barrels a day of crude
oil, and these other numbers stay in the same range... that
would make us equal to the current numbers in Saudi Arabia," he
However, the kingdom could also boost its own production by
ramping up spare capacity or expanding infrastructure, he
The International Energy Agency estimates that Saudi Arabia
is currently capable of producing up to 11.9 million bpd
of crude oil, versus production in December of just over 9
Despite these shifts, "the important thing is the continuing
relationship between the US and Saudi Arabia and trying to
stabilize global crude oil markets," Mr. Sieminski said.
US crude output was 6.4 million bpd last year and will grow
to above 7 million bpd this year, Mr. Sieminski said.
There is also strong potential for the development of shale
oil and gas outside North America, he said. "I would say that
the potential for the Chinese development of tight gas before
2030 is very strong and the possibility that we will see
something happening in at least some of the European
countries... is very good," he said.
Dow Jones Newswires