Industry Insights

The US is Pumping More Oil than Any Country in History

By: Filip De Mott

Date: March 11, 2024

US crude production has surpassed every record in history for six years in a row, the US Energy Information Administration wrote on Monday. Its latest peak reached in 2023 is unlikely to be broken by any near-term competitor, it said.

Including condensate, last year's US crude production averaged 12.9 million barrels per day, eclipsing the 2019 global record of 12.3 million barrels per day.

A monthly record also occurred in December, at over 13.3 million b/d.

It's a remarkable turnaround from a 62-year low hit in 2008, S&P Global previously noted, and potentially has come to surprise analysts. But despite a 69% decrease in active rigs since 2014, technological advancements have made US production much more efficient, the EIA cited in a separate report.

Further leading 2023's oil boom were private firms, with the top five companies representing a third of average annual Permian crude production growth since 2019.

Now, global competition has a low chance of reaching these same record levels, the agency said.

Altogether, the US, Russia, and Saudi Arabia made up 40% of 2023's global crude production. But output from both competitors was limited last year, due to OPEC+ production cuts, as well as voluntary curbs.

Instead, Russia's annual production peaked in 2019 at 10.8 million b/d, while Saudi Arabia reached a record of 10.6 million b/d in 2022. In January, the state-run oil firm Aramco ended plans to expand capacity, citing the green energy transition.

"By comparison, the next three largest producing countries—Canada, Iraq, and China—combined produced 13.1 million b/d in 2023, only slightly more than what was produced in the United States alone," the EIA wrote.

But whether the US can continue to beat its own record is a growing uncertainty. The success of private operations last year fueled a merger spree, as public firms raced to increase their foothold of the Permian Basin — the epicenter of US crude production.

This could flatten US production, analysts said, as public companies bring on different financial priorities. For instance, this could mean rig count reduction, and less drilling activity.

For its part, the EIA expects production to slow dramatically, with last year's November peak set to be surpassed in February 2025. For this year, production is forecast to rise to 13.21 million b/d. 



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