US oil exports up 140% since shale revolution
Up 140% since the shale revolution took flight in 2008, the U.S. has seen a meteoric rise in crude oil productionEven greater increases should be in store in the next two years as infrastructure to get the oil to market is built out as well as new export terminals. Some refineries are also switching to the light crude which should mean fewer imports. The transition would come even sooner if the refineries were not having to waste money on ethanol mandates.
The numbers continue to amaze and surpass all expectations from even the most well-financed banks and modelers.
U.S. crude oil output was long thought to have peaked back in 1970 at just under 9.7 million b/d.
Now, EIA estimates that we have touched 12 million b/d for the week ending February 15.
This surge has continue to obliterate "Peak Oil" theory, the stories of which topped out in July 2008 when oil prices hit a whopping $145 per barrel.
Some 11 years later, "Palin Was Right: 'Drill, Baby, Drill!'" The subsequent U.S. shale boom has loosened the market, and oil and gasoline prices have collapsed.
Since the start of 2018 alone, U.S. crude oil production is up nearly 30%, even more impressive since prices are down 12-15% over that time.
This has helped push U.S. crude oil exports to historic levels as well, just surpassing the 3.6 million b/d mark the same week output hit a record.
U.S. crude sellers have been bolstered in recent weeks by a $8-10 per barrel discount for the U.S. WTI crude grade as compared to the Brent international benchmark. They can generally make money when the spread is $3-5. The gap has been in the $7-12 range since August.
Moreover, U.S. shale oil is a lighter, sweeter grade, and our refinery system is mostly built to process heavier, more sour kinds, so we have a surplus to ship abroad. This tight oil is especially suitable to make gasoline. Yearly global car sales have soared to above 90 million, up 30% since 2010.
And production cuts from OPEC have also pushed more market share our way. OPEC, Russia, and the nine others coordinating production cuts to lift prices have been of great assistance to U.S. shale drillers. This explains why DOE Secretary Perry continues to warn against the punitive "NOPEC" bill circulating on Capitol Hill.