HOUSTON, March 13 (Xinhua) -- Both U.S. crude oil imports and exports fell during the week ending March 8, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said on Wednesday.
According to the Weekly Petroleum Status Report, U.S. crude oil imports averaged 6.7 million barrels per day last week, down by 255,000 barrels from the previous week's level, while crude oil exports averaged 2.5 million barrels per day, down by 257,000 barrels from the previous week's level.
Over the past four weeks, crude oil imports averaged about 6.8 million barrels per day, 9.0 percent less than in the same four-week period last year, while the averaged exports of crude oil were about 3.1 million barrels per day, up by about 1.46 million barrels per day year-on-year.
According to EIA's latest Short-Term Energy Outlook that was released Tuesday, net imports of U.S. crude oil and petroleum products fell from an average of 3.8 million barrels per day in 2017 to 2.3 million in 2018. EIA forecast that the net imports will continue to fall to 1.0 million barrels per day in 2019.
EIA also said that in the fourth quarter of 2020, the United States will become a net exporter of crude oil and petroleum products by about 900,000 barrels per day.
During the week ending March 8, U.S. crude oil production fell to an average of 12.0 million barrels per day, down by about 100,000 barrels from the previous week's level, and up by about 1.6 million barrels per day year-on-year.
In February, EIA said, U.S. crude oil production averaged 11.9 million barrels per day, down slightly from the January average. EIA forecast that U.S. crude oil output will average 12.3 million barrels per day in 2019 and 13.0 million in 2020, with most of the growth coming from the Permian region in the states of Texas and New Mexico.
It also estimated that Brent crude oil spot prices averaged 64 U.S. dollars per barrel in February, up by 5 dollars per barrel from January, and about 1 dollar per barrel lower than a year earlier.
EIA forecast Brent spot prices will average 63 dollars per barrel in 2019 and 62 dollars per barrel in 2020, compared with an average of 71 dollars per barrel in 2018.
EIA 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.