US Exported More Oil Than it Imported For the First Time in Over 70 Years

Based on preliminary data and model estimates, EIA (US Energy Information Agency) estimates that the United States exported 140,000 b/d more total crude oil and petroleum products in September than it imported; total exports exceeded imports by 550,000 b/d in October. If confirmed in survey-collected monthly data, it would be the first time the United States exported more petroleum than it imported since EIA records began in 1949. EIA expects total crude oil and petroleum net exports to average 750,000 b/d in 2020 compared with average net imports of 520,000 b/d in 2019.

* USA is a first time net exporter of oil
* USA has record-high crude oil production of 12.8 million barrels per day. The US is projected to add another 1 million barrels per day in 2020.
* USA has record-high natural gas production

US total oil liquids production is over 20 million barrels per day and increasing to over 21 million barrels per day.

EIA forecasts that annual U.S. dry natural gas production will average 92.1 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in 2019, up 10% from 2018. EIA expects that natural gas production will grow much less in 2020 because of the lag between changes in price and changes in future drilling activity, with low prices in the third quarter of 2019 reducing natural gas-directed drilling in the first half of 2020. EIA forecasts natural gas production in 2020 will average 94.9 Bcf/d.

EIA expects U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports to average 4.7 Bcf/d in 2019 and 6.4 Bcf/d in 2020 as three new liquefaction projects come online.

EIA expects the share of U.S. total utility-scale electricity generation from natural gas-fired power plants will rise from 34% in 2018 to 37% in 2019 and to 38% in 2020. EIA forecasts the share of U.S. electric generation from coal to average 25% in 2019 and 22% in 2020, down from 28% in 2018. EIA’s forecast nuclear share of U.S. generation remains at about 20% in 2019 and in 2020. Hydropower averages a 7% share of total U.S. generation in the forecast for 2019 and 2020, down from almost 8% in 2018. Wind, solar, and other nonhydropower renewables provided 9% of U.S. total utility-scale generation in 2018. EIA expects they will provide 10% in 2019 and 12% in 2020.

EIA forecasts that, after rising by 2.7% in 2018, U.S. energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions will decline by 1.7% in 2019 and by 2.0% in 2020, partially as a result of lower forecast energy consumption.

EIA expects U.S. electric power sector generation from renewables other than hydropower—principally wind and solar—to grow from 408 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) in 2019 to 466 billion kWh in 2020. The USA generated 807 billion kilowatt-hours of nuclear power in 2018.

EIA expects total U.S. coal production in 2019 to total 698 million short tons (MMst), an 8% decrease from the 2018 level of 756 MMst. The decline reflects lower demand for coal in the U.S. electric power sector and reduced competitiveness of U.S. exports in the global market. EIA expects U.S. steam coal exports to face increasing competition from Eastern European sources, and that Russia will fill a growing share of steam coal trade, causing U.S. coal exports to fall in 2020. EIA forecasts that coal production in 2020 will total 607 MMst.

59 thoughts on “US Exported More Oil Than it Imported For the First Time in Over 70 Years”

  1. Here in Norway they make most of their money selling fast food and act as small shops.

    Recharging is already an thing here, note that this mixes well with food.

  2. I always figured that since money must always return that balance of trade doesn’t mean much. But there is a slight difference on the money multiplier. Money that circulates locally has an higher leverage on the economy than money that goes abroad.

    I also remember the Arab Oil Embargo and its effects. God bless the child that has its own.

    Some might think I am pro drilling. I am not. I am pro conservation. I would prefer if we reduce our use of oil by substitution gas for oil where feasible, thru better mpg cars and trucks, and thru better insulated homes.

    A side effect of conservation for those who love burning oil would be lower prices for oil.

  3. Petrol Stations are marginal businesses. Can tell by the numbers that fail. If it wasn’t for their side hustle like selling cigarettes and lottery tickets none would survive. Over the next thirty years most will convert from selling gas to recharging EVs. Even with that, there is going to be a blood bath. Just remember what happen to the video rental business.

  4. Add in environmental costs on manufacturing the batteries, and recycling them at End of Life – (which there’s no facility set up to do, AFAIK) and I’m thinking that EVs are something of a losing proposition. Plus, you’re still getting that electricity from somewhere, and the environmental hazards of solar cell production are pretty bad. (Plus, AFAIK, they can’t be recycled at EOL either.)

    ‘Good Ideas’ need to have as few long-term ‘unexpected’ drawbacks as possible. And so far, solar and wind have been rife with them.

  5. Sure but people are not happy to see the oilmen because the government owns all the mineral rights, so land owners are just inconvenianced rather than well paid and happy.

  6. Foreign oil cannot sustain $10/barrel prices.

    Every oil producing nation would go bankrupt (apart from Norway).

    While the cost to pump oil can be as low as $15 a barrel the countries that are doing the pumping must have higher oil prices or they go bankrupt. Most countries are struggling with oil at $50. Fracking in contrast is profitable at $35-$50 depending on the location.

  7. Remember – California is still dependent on Middle Eastern Oil. Because they refuse to build a pipeline to Texas, they will continue to be in pricing Tier that the rest of the County is insulated from.

  8. In many applications, EVs may end up being cheaper over the lifetime of a vehicle. It depends on whether costs per of battery storage become significantly cheaper. The oil age has given scum like the Saudis the financial ability to spread their putrid wahabi ideology.

  9. Re-fracking doesn’t create new oil – it accelerates recovery from an existing well. I might be wrong on this one (haven’t checked) but I suspect all the oil from such wells is already counted as proven reserves.

  10. Now you’re talking about deposits of wax-like kerogen that can be processed into oil, not actual oil reserves – most of that isn’t economically recoverable now and some of it may never be.

    We could make oil using carbon from the air and hydrogen from water plus solar power. Should we then claim that US oil will last for millions of years?

    Either source might only become viable as a means of maintaining oil independence if the price of oil were to get higher than what we’d pay now to import all our oil – e.g. when global conventional oil starts to run low, or if OPEC cuts us off again.

    Again, we’d be better off weaning ourselves mostly off oil for transportation while we’ve got our own real oil. We have a viable means to do so at hand – hybrids and EVs will cost less over the life of a car.

  11. The United States has the largest known deposits of oil shale in the world, according to the Bureau of Land Management and holds an estimated 2.175 trillion barrels (345.8 km3) of potentially recoverable oil.
    The 293B barrels is an old figure, that one is now 310B barrels. But that ignores the oil shale. We also typically discover oil at a faster rate than we use it, which is why this number has gone up rather than down despite all the pumping we are doing.
    Also a lot of the fracking stuff can be fracked again. They can just get more from new stuff. When they run out of new stuff to frack, they can go over the stuff they have already done.

  12. It was a bit more than a ‘scolding’ – laws and fines and enforcing judicial findings in lawsuits against polluters and such – the usual instruments of government coercion. And one outcome was a strong and interventionist EPA which oversteps and adds major overhead at times.

    Too bad the polluters – which included local governments as well as businesses – could not just do the right thing. But that’s human nature, and sometimes we have to jointly force ourselves to jointly do the right thing – i.e. govern ourselves.

  13. An estimate of total US 2019 recoverable oil reserves – including estimated undiscovered oil – is ~293B barrels. Current consumption is 7.26B barrel a year – so 40 years.

    Yes, more may be discovered or become available through tech advances – but you did say “reserves”…

    Also, some of what is counted as reserves would take as much as $90/barrel to extract – and at that price it’d again be cheaper to import oil. I’d rather see us cut demand quickly – and then, yes, our reserves could last for centuries.

  14. Nonsense, we have decades to centuries of oil reserves now. We do need EVs and natural gas vehicles so we can have very high oil exports due to low consumption and high production. And we need to end the freeze to the efficiency requirement timeline the Obama administration negotiated with the auto makers. Higher efficiency also makes our cars far more attractive to other countries further helping exports.
    We also need to make our infrastructure more efficient. We need more lanes on our freeways, tunnels through mountains and hills, and more bridges. We need to electrify rail and have overhead wires for at least one lane of all major highways for semis, large buses, garbage trucks, cement trucks, and campers.

  15. Wells can be re-fracked. At the current rate of use, the US is good to go till the 22nd century. The oil age won’t end because we run out of oil.

  16. I would be OK with leaving the Middle East behind by ending the US military’s garrisoning duties. Keeping the oil waterways open with naval,power and all those bases we maintain there cost a lot of $$$. There’s a savings to be had.

  17. They certainly had to be told to play nice, and it took a goverment scolding to bring it on. So no issue with the end benefits to all

  18. You still have to get it out of the ground regardless of supply. That cost $$$. The marginal producer sets the price, meaning, if you can produce 5,000,000 barrels @ $10/barrel, but demand is at 10MM barrels/day, the guys supplying the remaining barrels at say $65-75/barrel set the price for everyone else. Many other factors to be sure. Also, the cheap easy oil in the U.S. is gone for now. As we bring down cost via technology, it will translate into lower inflation adjusted prices. Which, by the way, long-term real (inflation adjusted) price of oil is about $43/barrel. So, oil is not expensive by a measure of real historical price. Another thing to consider is how far you can drive on a gallon today vs. 10, 20, 30 years ago. The impact on the family budget is lower per mile driven than at any time in history. I think that’s why we keep driving more miles/year, it doesn’t hurt the wallet as much. Technology saves the day every time! One other thing to consider. In my state we post the state and federal gas taxes. Remember when the dems wanted the oil companies to pay a “windfall profits tax”? Big Oil was making about $0.09/gallon of gas, while government was making about $0.48/gallon in tax. Oil companies provide a service that costs billions/year and trillions/over decades to explore, extract, refine and deliver to your local station, all at a reasonable price. They aren’t the bad guy. You pay more to the taxman/ gallon than to Exxon.

  19. It’s surprisingly common.

    Germany is in the middle of self-embargoing themselves from nuclear power technology.
    Australia has self embargoed most civilian firearm imports.
    Saudi Arabia from whisky and beer

  20. US production has doubled in less than a decade so the ramp up is quite fast, much faster than anywhere else in the world. The US is projected to add another million barrels a day next year under less than favorable conditions, not even Saudi Arabia could easily such an increase. As far as expensive goes yeah its more expensive than Saudi Arabia or the World’s existing standard but disappearing oil fields, but its much cheaper than very deep ocean wells, Russian or Alaskan arctic oil, Venezuelan heavy crude or Canadian tar sands. As far as unconventional reserves go its the cheapest on the planet due to favorable geology, the fact that most of the oil is over pre-existing infrastructure and close to US cities and other factors.

  21. We’ve got oil for a while yet, no question. Plenty of time to do a smooth transition away from oil and keep oil in the ground as a true strategic reserve. But the more EVs we get, the easier it will be for oil to stay cheap, and the slower that transition might go.

  22. This is true to a point – though if we decrease demand enough to force the price of oil below the cost of fracking, we’ll suppress US fracking production and might again be dependent on lower-cost foreign oil that can be produced and shipped for around $10.

    That’d probably be ok it happens because 90% of our cars and trucks were EVs.

  23. Too much of our actions in the Americas have been directed at trying to control political ideologies, and make more money for billionaires and corporations, maybe some drug crime reduction. We need to change our philosophy. The wellbeing and prosperity of the average person, the health of the environment, political stability, and the control of crime. These things are far more important than ideological manipulations and serving the wealthy.

  24. Oh, certainly, I welcome our distancing of the Middle East. Sadly, a lot of Americans still do not realize that we no longer have to get involved there anymore. Republicans, for example, still rank “Terrorism” as their #1 concern. They need to wake up. Quit blowing money and lives in the Middle East. Support Israel as needed, but the rest? They have chosen their idiotic governments…let them enjoy them. Or rebel… Whatever.
    I think China will start fracking and producing the oil necessary for China. India?
    I think we need to turn our attention toward improving lives in the Americas. No one should have stunted growth in the Americas. Pathogenic diseases need wiped out. We decided we wanted minimal interference in the Americas by powers outside. If we want to maintain that, we need to do more to help all these countries thrive.
    The Mexican government is so weak that they had to release the druglord’s son. We need to help empower the Mexican government to crush the drug cartels, and make it worth their while. Provide satellite info, whatever we can do. We need to help them move away from toxic exposure. And we need to help them build their economies. No one puts in more hours than Mexicans. We need to help them boost their productivity, so those hours do more to make their lives better. And, of course, help well beyond Mexico.
    Keep doing nothing and we will attract China to the countries in the Americas. We need better relations with all these countries and peoples.

  25. Yes it does, it matters very much what the grade of the oil is in terms of how much sulfur and contamination it has and how light or heavy its and what the transport costs are. Poor quality Venezuelan oil routinely sells for$20 a barrel less than North Sea Brent which is the global bench mark due to its high sulfur content, refining costs. Also distance matters as the buyer must pay for the transport of the oil, which is another reason North Sea Brent goes for a premium, it is right next door to European economies that are some of the World’s largest producers. West Texas crude likewise will often sell for a $10 discount as opposed to North Sea Brent because there is so bloody much of it in Texas and the long distance to markets in Europe and Asia .

  26. Gas is only expensive in California, which alone among US states relies on imported oil and by law requires the use of California only specialty gas blends that are only made in California refineries. Other than California gas is quite cheap.

  27. You might want to check out independent estimates on global oil reserves instead of EIA data which relies on government reported statistics. Hint a lot of governments lie about how much oil they have such as Venezuela where Chavez quadrupled his oil reserves in the mid-2000s before embarking on one of the World’s biggest borrowing binges.. According to the World’s number one oil analysis organization Rystad Energy the US has more recoverable oil than any other country on Earth. 293 million barrels which is 20 billion more than Saudi Arabia and 100 billion more than Russia. Also there are at least 2 trillion barrels of oil shale (not shale oil) in the Green River basin. If you included oil shale which is currently recovered commercially in Estonia the US has more oil than the rest of the planet combined.

    So can it go on, yeah sure it can or least so says most private estimates, as well as the US government which upped US oil reserves in the Permian basin to 50 billion barrels just this year.

  28. I agree government actions can cause problems.

    But would we have reduced air and water pollution without government intervention? It went on for a very long time and got very bad, until that intervention happened.

    If the US drains its domestically fracked oil before getting independent of it, we could see a repeat of 1973.

    So tell me how we can avoid becoming dependent on foreign oil again, without government intervention.

  29. But that still means that the top 10% of the world can ignore the middle east.

    China and India are sending troops in to try to stop the Saudi civil war or the Libya-Egyptian caliphate or something but North America, Japan and Europe just watch while eating popcorn and taking bets.

  30. Oil prices does not depend on who is producing it, that’s why this achievement does not mean much of anything. There are edge cases where it’s being produce would matter, it would be easier if production was local if a situation arises where the oil needs to be expropriated.
    If you were producing cupcakes, would you prefer to sell them in nearby markets for $1 a piece or further afield for $2? Patriotic nonsense may give the poorly educated the warm and fuzzy, but rational people sell their products in the most profitable markets.

  31. I think the US oil reserves are way larger than the standard metric.
    Its however pretty expensive oil with an long ramp up time.
    I assume lots of other places is also in this setting.
    And yes you can drill you out of oil problems 🙂

  32. More that fracking is pretty expensive.
    So you have lots of oil but its not very cheap.
    Add that all the other chains in the chains drive up price.
    Petrol stations is famous to jack up prices fast but being slow to lower them

  33. Maybe their government will have to focus on developing their country’s economy instead of just stealing the oil money.

  34. According to the EIA, the average price of gas in the US is $2.62 per gallon. Adjusting for inflation, the is equal to $2.19 in 2009, $1.72 in 1999, $1.28 in 1989, $0.75 in 1979, and $0.38 in 1969.
    Checking historical prices, the average cost of gas in those years was $2.35, $1.17, $1.00, $0.86, and $0.35 respectively.

    So gasoline right now is well within the range of normal historical prices.

  35. EV adoption had better hurry up – because US oil production isn’t going to last much longer in historical terms.

    One effective move might be to require that by 2025 no new non-hybrid ICE (ground) vehicles be sold in the US. For a modest car price increase (generally recovered in lower gas costs within 4-8yrs), we’d see a big cut in oil demand over the next 25 years.

  36. My point is that used vehicles, the bulk of which will be gasoline/diesel, will continue to be more affordable, and that affordability unignorable, for upwards of 90% of the World, even if EV undercuts prices of new gasoline and diesel vehicles.

  37. Oil is not going anywhere…for a while. The World is a big place. As demand from developed countries diminishes, the lesser developed countries will take up the slack. Perhaps paying less for it, but still consuming it. The average age of a car is 11.8 years. But they are not retired when they are average age. I can’t find a figure for the average age they are when they are sent to the wrecking yard, but I suspect that it is probably 18-20 years old on average. Americans typically drive a vehicle to about 200,000 miles, then sell it, or just wait until there is a big repair needed and sell it for whatever they can get. People who earn 6 figures or more, usually sell at 100,000 miles, or less, just to avoid breakdowns. At least that is my impression. But old cars are not necessarily crushed just because they have been sold at 200,000 miles. There are lots of people who will buy these as a third+ vehicle, or it may be exported to less developed or financially troubled countries.
    Unless there is an active effort to crush guzzlers, these things will still be on the road somewhere until they are too much expense to repair. And that will increasingly be true, if fuel prices go down, from reduced demand.
    There are very few countries that are anywhere near saturation in auto demand. If you take US level as saturation (which I don’t think it is), then there are 153 countries that are below half that level:

  38. The middle east nations are sitting on a huge tank of oil.
    The US is sitting on a small tank of oil, pumping it fast.

    What can’t go on, won’t go on.

  39. NY and CA have lots of fr’cking potential as well, but they are abstaining for ideological reasons. Waiting for E. Warren to come and equalize things by banning fr’cking I suppose.

    If you can get rich through politics, who cares if the little people are poor? Beggars are easier to manipulate.

  40. Blame the enviromentalists to limit the construction of refineries for that. They take you to court and hold up construction for years. This is why it cost billions in per mile for any infrastructure construction as well.

  41. Yes, quite nice isn’t it to give certain countries the full measure of attention that they deserve (i.e. very little).

    Of course US oil production and EV adoption will continue to go up. Eventually we will see the consequences of countries that have oil as their economic foundation… crumble.

  42. In CA prices are high thanks to state taxes. Also Federal gas tax applies to each gallon. We have winter vs summer blends, limited refinement capacity which pushes prices up (good old supply & demand).

    Oil at ~$50 a barrel isn’t expensive especially in inflation adjusted dollars.

  43. It’s a major effect on US foreign policy as well. Since the 1973 Arab Oil embargo sanctioning and shutting down the oil export industries of two OPEC members, Iran and Venezuela would have been unthinkable. Now shutting down the tap for Iranian oil is actually good for business. So in other words the oil weapon is increasing an American weapons, where in the 1970s it was something that was turned against the US.

  44. It’s having major impacts. The current level of risk and instability in the Persian/Arabian Gulf would have resulted in big oil price spikes in the past. Now it’s meh.

  45. “They” always said we would have immanentized the eschaton if only the country could export more oil than it imported, utopia here we come. This mean we can finally party like we were supposed to in 1999, but never did because everyone was too busy prepping for Y2K end times.

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