U.S. oil production could reach 11.8 million barrels a day next year, the U.S. Energy Information Administration predicts in its July short-term energy outlook. That would make it the world's biggest oil producer, ahead of Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation, for the first time since the mid-1970s. In the face of rising global oil prices, members of the OPEC cartel and a few non-members including Russian Federation agreed last month to ease production caps that had contributed to the run-up in prices. The White House later clarified that the king said his country has a reserve of 2 million barrels a day that could be tapped "if and when necessary".
As a result, American oil imports could drop as low as 1.6 million barrels a day, which would be the lowest level since 1958.
The idea that the US could ever again become the world's top oil producer once seemed preposterous.
'The rebound of USA output 'has made a huge difference.
By the end of the 1970s the USSR was producing one-third more oil than the US; by the end of the 1980s, Soviet output was almost double that of the U.S. The rise comes on the back of USA innovation in the field of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, and horizontal drilling.
Those innovations and the breakup of the Soviet Union helped the USA narrow the gap, although Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia both pumped more crude than the US a year ago. So if they do raise production by next year, they could keep pace with the U.S.
The U.S. has been pumping more than 10 million barrels a day on average since February, and probably pumped about 10.9 million barrels a day in June, up from 10.8 million in May, the energy agency said on Tuesday.
US production of crude oil, condensates, and natural gas liquids will rise to 17 million barrels a day by 2023, up from 13.2 million in 2017, according to IAE's forecast.
The trend of rising USA output prompted Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency, to predict this spring that the US would leapfrog Russian Federation and become the worlds largest producer by next year if not sooner.
Last month, India's oil ministry asked refiners to prepare to limit imports of Iranian oil ahead of USA sanctions that take effect in November.
As a result, USA crude oil exports to India hit a record in June and so far this year are nearly double last year's total.