By MARK SHENK
The US is expected to overtake Saudi Arabia as the world's biggest total supplier of oil this year when natural gas liquids and biofuels are added to crude, PIRA Energy Group said.
The US is projected to produce an average of 12.1 million bpd of liquids in 2013, 300,000 bpd higher than Saudi Arabia and 1.6 million more than Russia, according to data presented at PIRAs Retainer Client Seminar Oct. 10 and Oct. 11 in New York.
The US position has improved because of surging shale oil output, the New York-based energy consultant said. The combination of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has unlocked supplies in shale formations in the central part of the country.
Shale liquids output has climbed 3.2 million bpd in the last four years, the biggest gain since Saudi Arabia raised production between 1970 and 1974.
This isnt a big surprise but notable all the same, said Michael Lynch, president of Strategic Energy & Economic Research in Winchester, Massachusetts. This is another sign of the successful story that is horizontal drilling.
The US is forecast to pump 7.4 million bpd of crude and condensate, 2.5 million of natural gas liquids and 1 million of biofuels, according to PIRA. It also counted almost 1.3 million of refinery gains, a measure of the ability of refineries to optimize output through high-conversion capabilities.
Saudi Arabia and Russia pump about 3 million bpd more crude oil than the US, PIRA said.
Total US liquids supply is projected to climb 1 million bbl in 2013, about the same as last years growth, PIRA said. This is greater than the sum of the next nine fastest-growing countries combined and has covered most global demand gain over the past two years.
US liquids output will probably rise faster than that in Saudi Arabia and Russia until after 2020 and the nation should maintain the lead through 2030, according to PIRA.
Cover image courtesy of Thomas Hawk via Flickr