U.S. crude oil production on track to surpass imports for first time since 1995

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Graph of U.S. crude production and imports, as explained in the article text

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, March 2013 Short-Term Energy Outlook.


For the next two weeks (Dec. 23 - Jan. 3), Today in Energy will feature a selection of our favorite articles from 2013. Today's article was originally published on March 20.

Monthly crude oil production in the United States is expected to exceed the amount of U.S. crude oil imports later this year for the first time since February 1995. The gap between monthly U.S. crude oil production and imports is projected to be almost 2 million barrels per day (bbl/d) by the end of next year—according to EIA's March 2013 Short-Term Energy Outlook.

According to EIA's projections:

  • Monthly crude oil production could surpass net crude oil imports later this year.
  • Monthly crude oil production is forecast to top 8 million bbl/d in the fourth quarter of 2014, which would be the highest level since 1988.
  • Net crude oil imports are expected to fall below 7 million bbl/d in the fourth quarter of 2014 for the first time since 1995.

This projected change is primarily because of rising domestic crude oil production, particularly from shale and other tight rock formations in North Dakota and Texas.

Given the uncertainties in this forecast, the timing of the crossover between U.S. crude oil production and net crude oil imports could change, based largely on supply conditions. For example, supply would decrease if a strong 2013 hurricane season disrupts U.S. offshore oil production (and thus delays or prevents a crossover), or increase if there are higher-than-expected increases in tight oil production (meaning production might exceed imports sooner than forecast).

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