Rystad: America Will Surpass Saudi Arabia in Petroleum Exports

The VLCC Anne makes a trial run in ballast at the Port of Corpus Christi. The port seeks to dredge its channel to allow large tankers like the Anne to load more fully at crude export terminals (file image)

By The Maritime Executive 03-08-2019 04:18:03

According to consultancy Rystad Energy, the United States will soon export more oil and petroleum liquids than Saudi Arabia, upending a decades-long global trading pattern. 

Thanks to rapidly-expanding production in the Permian Basin and other U.S. shale fields, along with the loading activity at Gulf Coast ports, American oil exports are on a rapid upward trend. The current crude export volume sits at about 3.5 million bpd, plus an additional five million bpd of natural gas liquids and refined products, for a total of about 8.5 million bpd. Saudi Arabia exports about seven million bpd of crude and two million bpd of lighter petroleum cargoes, for a total of roughly nine million - barely more than current American shipments. Rystad's forecast suggests that America could edge ahead of the Kingdom by as early as the third quarter of this year. 

According to Rystad, the U.S. will add millions of barrels per day of additional oil production in the medium term. When combined with additional pipeline capacity connecting Texas' busiest fields to ports on the Gulf Coast, this will put America in a "position of oil dominance," according to Rystad Energy senior partner Per Magnus Nysveen.

Among other predictions, Rystad expects that the U.S. will become a regular net exporter of petroleum by the end of 2020, and that it will become a net exporter of crude oil by 2025. 

Nysveen claims that this spike in exports will be nothing less than revolutionary - and that it will even be enough to balance America's $620 billion annual trade deficit for goods and services. “The political and economic impact of this shift in global trade has already been dramatic, and will be even more pivotal within the next five years," he said. "The U.S. trade deficit will evaporate and its foreign debt will be paid quickly thanks to the swift rise of American oil and gas net exports. The tanker shipping industry will see the boom of the millennium, as the excess fossil fuels from America will find plenty of eager buyers in fast-growing Asia."