HOUSTON, March 12 (Xinhua) -- The United States will be a net exporter of crude oil and petroleum products in the fourth quarter of 2020, with an export level of about 0.9 million barrels per day (b/d), the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said on Tuesday.
Its March Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO) showed that U.S. net imports of crude oil and petroleum products fell from an average of 3.8 million b/d in 2017 to an average of 2.3 million b/d in 2018.
The energy agency forecast that the country's net import will continue to fall to an average of 1.0 million b/d in 2019 and in 2020, it is expected to turn to a net energy exporter with an average level of 0.1 million b/d.
Fatih Birol, executive director of International Energy Agency (IEA), said on Monday at a press conference here at the CERAWeek by IHS Markit that the United States is becoming a net exporter of energy from 2021.
When it comes to crude oil production, EIA forecast that U.S. crude oil production will average 12.3 million barrels per day (b/d) in 2019 and 13.0 million b/d in 2020, with most of the growth coming from the Permian region of Texas and New Mexico.
New technologies that allow the United States to extract oil and gas from shale rock formations has led to a boom in U.S. energy production in recent years.
According to the "Oil 2019: Analysis & Forecast to 2024" outlook released on Monday by IEA, the United States is expected to provide as much as 70 percent of increase in global oil supply in the next five years. In addition, the growth of U.S. oil export will nearly double to 9 million barrels a day by 2024.
"By doing so, we expect it to overtake exports from Russia and come very close to exports of Saudi Arabia which is the biggest oil exporter today," said the IEA chief.
He said the second wave of U.S. shale revolution is coming and it will shake up the international oil and gas trade flow.
For EIA, it expected strong growth in U.S. natural gas production to put a downward pressure on prices in 2019.
According to its latest STEO, crude oil prices were expected to decrease in 2019. EIA forecast Brent spot prices will slide from the average 71.34 U.S. dollars per barrel in 2018 to only around 63 dollars per barrel in 2019 and 62 dollars in 2020.
EIA also expected that West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil prices will average 9 dollars per barrel lower than Brent prices in the first half of 2019 before the discount gradually falls to 4 dollars per barrel in the fourth quarter of 2019 and throughout 2020.