According to EIA estimates, the US remained the world’s top producer of petroleum and natural gas hydrocarbons last year. US hydrocarbon production continues to exceed that of both Russia and Saudi Arabia, the second and third largest producers. For the US and Russia, total petroleum and natural gas hydrocarbon production, in energy content terms, is almost evenly split between petroleum and natural gas. Saudi Arabia’s production, on the other hand, heavily favours petroleum.
Since 2008, US petroleum production has increased over 11 quadrillion Btu, with dramatic growth in Texas and North Dakota. Despite the 50% decline in crude oil prices that occurred in the second half of last year, US petroleum production still increased by 3 quadrillion Btu in 2014. Natural gas production, largely from the east of the US, increased by 5 quadrillion Btu over the past five years. Combined hydrocarbon output in Russia increased by 3 quadrillion Btu and in Saudi Arabia by 4 quadrillion Btu over the past five years.
While US hydrocarbon production over the past several years is directly attributed to its success at exploiting tight oil formations and shale gas, other key factors also acted to keep hydrocarbon production from increasing in Russia and Saudi Arabia last year. Although Russian petroleum production continued to rise, natural gas production dropped due to weak European economic growth and a warm 2013 – 2014 winter reduced demand in Russia’s primary market for gas exports. While total petroleum and natural gas hydrocarbon production estimates for the US and Russia in 2011 were roughly equivalent, by 2014 US production exceeded Russian production by approximately 12 quadrillion Btu.
In contrast to its past actions to raise or lower oil production levels to balance global oil markets. Saudi Arabia did not cut its production in the fall of 2014 despite falling oil prices and growing global inventories of oil as supply exceeded demand. As a result, Saudi Arabia’s total petroleum and natural gas hydrocarbon production was nearly unchanged from 2013. With the increase in US production, the US produced almost twice the petroleum and natural gas hydrocarbons as produced by Saudi Arabia in 2014.
Edited from press release by Claira Lloyd