By - Jim Vess

U.S crude production hits record 11 million barrels/day led by Texas and Gulf output

Energize Weekly, April 17, 2019

U.S. crude oil production—driven by Texas output—hit a record average 10.96 million barrels a day in 2018, a 17 percent year-over-year increase, according to the federal Energy Information Administration (EIA).

In December 2018, crude oil production reached 11.96 million barrels a day—the highest monthly level of crude production in U.S. history.

“U.S. crude oil production has increased significantly over the past 10 years, driven mainly by production from tight rock formations using horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing,” the EIA said.

The agency projects that U.S. crude oil production will continue to grow in 2019 to 12.3 million barrels a day and to 13 million barrels a day in 2020.

Texas accounted for 40 percent of the nation’s production, surpassing every other state and region in the country. Texas has been the top producer most years since 1970.

The state yielded first place to Alaska in 1988, and from 1999 to 2011 offshore Gulf of Mexico region was the top producer.

In 2018, Texas crude production increased by almost 950,000 barrels a day, for an annual average of 4.4 million barrels a day. In December, the state hit its record high for one month—4.9 million barrels a day.

The main driver for Texas and the nation was significant growth in the Permian region in western Texas, which accounted for 60 percent of the total U.S. increase.

Production in the Permian Basin, which straddles West Texas and New Mexico, was also responsible for a 45 percent increase in production—about 215,000 barrels a day—in New Mexico.

New Mexico contributed 13 percent to the increase in U.S. crude oil output, and in December, it produced 815,000 barrels a day.

Colorado and North Dakota also set production records, with output in each state growing by more than 95,000 barrels a day. Colorado drillers tapped into the Niobrara Shale, a formation in the eastern part of the state that runs from the Denver area to the Wyoming border. In December, Colorado’s crude production was about 513,000 barrels a day.

North Dakota increases came from the Bakken region where almost 1.4 million barrels of crude oil a day were being produced in December 2018.

Oklahoma also saw an increase in production to 584,000 barrels a day in December, but has yet to surpass its record level of 632,000 barrels a day set in 1967.

In the federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico region, 11 new oil and gas projects and expansion, begun in 2016, came online and added to the growth in offshore production in 2018.

Gulf crude oil production was up 61,000 barrels a day in 2018, leading to the region’s highest annual average of 1.74 million barrels a day and making it the second biggest producer in the country. Eight more oil and gas projects are slated to come online in the Gulf in 2019.

The increases in the Gulf and western states more than offset production declines in Alaska, California and Louisiana. Alaskan production was down 16,000 barrels a day, and California output was down 13,000 barrels a day—the state’s fourth consecutive annual decline.

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