Another U.S. Energy Milestone: U.S. Was The World's Largest Petroleum Producer In April For The 18th Straight Month

by: Mark J. Perry

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) released new data this week on international energy production for the month of April, and here are some highlights of that update:

1. For the 18th month in a row starting in November 2012, "Saudi America" took the top spot again in April as the No. 1 petroleum producer in the world. Also, for the 18th straight month, total petroleum production (crude oil and other petroleum products like natural gas plant liquids, leased condensate, and refined petroleum products) in the US during the month of April at 13.63 million barrels per day (bpd) exceeded petroleum production in No. 2 Saudi Arabia (11.61 million bpd), see chart above.

2. During the 2004 to 2008 period before America's shale boom started, Saudi Arabia routinely produced 2 - 3 million more barrels of petroleum products a day than the US. But since America's shale revolution started in 2009, there has been a surge of nearly 60% in the supply of petroleum produced in the US and America surpassed Saudi Arabia at the end of 2012 to become the world's No. 1 petroleum producer. In April, production of US petroleum products (13.63 million bpd) exceeded Saudi Arabia's output (11.61 million bdp) by more than 2 million bpd, which is the biggest difference in favor of the US during the 20 year history of international production data from the EIA (see chart).

Bottom Line: The EIA data on international petroleum production through April provides more evidence that America's shale energy revolution is taking the US from "resource scarcity" to a new era of "resource abundance." The US now consistently produces more "total oil supply" than Saudi Arabia (by more than 2M bpd in April) and has led the world in petroleum production for 18 straight months. This energy bonanza in the US - described as the "energy equivalent of the Berlin Wall coming down" - would have been largely unthinkable even five years ago. But then thanks to revolutionary drilling techniques developed by American "petropreneurs," vast oceans of shale oil have been accessed across the country, making the US the world's No. 1 petroleum producer for 18 months running.