The United States is about to overtake Saudi Arabia to become the world’s largest producer of liquid petroleum, the Financial Times reported Tuesday.
Saui Arabia and the US were about even in the production of oil and related liquids such as ethane and propane in June and August at about 11.5 million barrels a day, the report said, citing the International Energy Agency.
With US production continuing to boom, its output is set to exceed that of Saudi Arabia this month or next for the first time since 1991.
Riyadh said the rise of the US does not diminish its own critical role in oil markets.
It can increase its output by 2.5 million barrels per day (bpd) if needed to balance supply and demand.
Prince Abdulaziz Bin Salman Bin Abdulaziz, Saudi Arabia’s deputy oil minister, said Saudi Arabia is the “only country with usable spare oil production capacity”.
The US has an even greater lead if its biofuel output of about one million bpd is included.
Global crude prices have fallen in the past two years despite turmoil in Syria and Iraq, fighting in Libya and Russia’s conflict with Ukraine.
Brent crude hit its lowest level in more than two years last week at about US$95.60 a barrel, down from a peak of US$125 a barrel early in 2012.
Over that period, growth in US production of more than 3.5 million bpd has almost equalled the entire increase in world oil supplies.
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