• US gas and liquids production surged 13.2 per cent
  • Saudi liquids productin drops marginally
  • Opec oil revenues forecast to almost half in 2015

The US remained the world’s largest petroleum producer in 2014 both in terms of liquids and natural gas as its unconventional extraction boom continued.

American hydrocarbons production increased by 9.6 per cent from the previous year to reach 54.6 quadrillion BTUs, Russia decreased output and and Saudi Arabian volumes rose only marginally, according to the latest figures from the Washington-based Energy Information Administration (EIA).

The US was also the top producer of liquids – including crude oil, natural gas liquids (NGLs), condensates and other liquids – with output surging by 13.2 per cent to 28.3 quadrillion btu.

Saudi Arabia was overtaken as the world’s largest liquids producer in 2013 after the US underwent several years of significant volumes growth.

Saudi Arabian liquids production dropped marginally to 23.6 trillion BTUs in 2014, while Saudi gas production was dwarfed by the US and Russia.

The US and Russia’s hydrocarbons production is roughly split evenly between liquids and gas, whereas in Saudi Arabia liquids made up 86 per cent of output in 2014.

 “While US hydrocarbon production over the past several years is directly attributed to its success at exploiting tight oil formations and shale gas, other key factors also acted to keep hydrocarbon production from increasing in Russia and Saudi Arabia in 2014,” says Linda Dorman, analyst at the EIA.

“In contrast to its past actions to raise or lower oil production levels to balance global oil markets, Saudi Arabia did not cut its production in the fall of 2014 despite falling oil prices and growing global inventories of oil as supply exceeded demand,” she adds, saying Saudi Arabia’s total production was nearly unchanged year on year.

“With the increase in US production, the United States produced nearly twice the petroleum and natural gas hydrocarbons as produced by Saudi Arabia in 2014,” Dorman says.

In a separate report, the EIA estimated that Opec oil revenues (excluding Iran) fell 11 per cent to $730bn in 2014. Saudi Arabia was estimated to have earned about a third of the oil exporting group’s total revenues at $246bn.

Opec revenues are projected to collapse to $380bn in 2015 – a decrease of 48 per cent – due to much lower average annual crude prices despite volumes estimated to stay the same.

The EIA forecast that revenues would rebound to $515bn in in 2016 “with the expected rebound in crude oil prices”.

Per capita oil earnings in Opec are forecast to drop to $1,114 from $2,186 in the same period, according to the EIA.

Iraq overtook Kuwait as the second biggest earner from oil exports in the Opec, keeping its revenues steady at $87bn despite the drop in global crude prices. Kuwaiti oil revenues dropped to $81bn from $90bn.

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