The U.S. is now the world’s largest producer of oil, surpassing Russia and Saudi Arabia, according to Bank of America Corp. (BAC), as reported in Bloomberg.
U.S. crude oil output in the first quarter surpassed 11-million b/d, which was the highest volume produced by the country in 24 years. The U.S. is expected to hold the top spot through the end of the year, BAC officials said.
Most of that production is coming from Texas and North Dakota, which produced nearly half (48%) of all U.S. oil in April of 2014, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA). Texas alone produced nearly 3-million b/d in the same month, thanks largely to the Eagle Ford Shale, reaching production levels not seen since the 70s.
According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), U.S. oil output will increase to 13.1 million b/d in 2019 and plateau. Most analysts agree the Eagle Ford and Bakken Shale plays, which are largely responsible for production in Texas and North Dakota, will peak around this time, and begin to decline.
Oil Inventories Stacking Up
With the glut of oil being produced in the U.S., crude inventories on the U.S. Gulf Coast (USGC) have recently climbed to record levels according to the EIA, hitting 207.2 million bbl on April 11, 2014. The EIA says the USGC region has about 275 million bbls of current capacity, but more midstream projects pushing oil to the USGC have been scheduled.
To accommodate the influx of oil into the region, several crude oil storage projects are expected along the USGC through 2016. Recently, Haddington Ventures LLC, a midstream oil and gas investment firm, was identified in a Wall Street Journal (WSJ) blog as the designer/builder for a major crude oil storage project in Houston, TX.
Overall, the challenges that have come and will continue to come with the oil & gas renaissance in the U.S. seem to be outweighing most of the negative impacts. Namely, U.S. energy independence is the most favorable outcome, with tensions growing in Russia and unrest in the Middle East. The EIA predicts the U.S. will be energy independent by 2035.