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Robert Rapier: The US Accounted For 98% Of Global Oil Production Growth In 2018


Earlier this month BP released its Statistical Review of World Energy 2019. The Review provides a comprehensive picture of supply and demand for major energy sources on a country-level basis. Each year, I do a series of articles covering the Review’s findings.

In the first article of the series, I discussed the trends in global carbon dioxide emissions. Today, I want to cover the production and consumption of petroleum.

Two years ago, in response to numerous articles suggesting that the world was on the cusp of peak oil demand, I argued that Peak Oil Demand Is Millions Of Barrels Away. This marks the second Review since I made that argument, and the latest Review shows that global oil demand has grown by 3.1 million barrels per day (BPD) since that article published.

A New Consumption Record

For 2018, the Review reported that the world set a new oil consumption record of 99.8 million BPD, which is the ninth straight year global oil demand has increased. Oil demand in 2018 grew by 1.5%, ahead of the decade-long average of 1.2%. On the other hand, 2018 demand growth of 1.4 million BPD marked the third consecutive year oil demand growth has fallen.

The United States remains the world’s top oil consumer, averaging 20.5 million BPD in 2018. China was second at 13.5 million BPD, although this would be far below the U.S. in per capita consumption. India was third at 5.2 million BPD. Both China and India have averaged oil consumption growth of at least 5% per year over the past decade.

Asia Pacific has been the world’s fastest growing oil market over the past decade with 2.7% average annual growth. Africa and the Middle East aren’t far behind that pace, although neither region experienced oil production growth in 2018.

U.S. Remains the Oil Production Champion

The Review also reported a new global oil production record in 2018 of 94.7 million BPD,1 an increase of 2.22 million BPD over the previous year.

The U.S. extended its lead as the world’s top oil producer to a record 15.3 million BPD.2 In addition, the U.S. led all countries in increasing production over the previous year, with a gain of 2.18 million BPD (equal to 98% of the total of global additions).

Looking at a longer period, in 2008 global oil prices first exceeded $100/bbl. Since then, global oil production has increased by 11.6 million BPD. Over the same time span, U.S. oil production increased by 8.5 million BPD — equal to 73.2% of the global increase in production. It’s easy to imagine that without the U.S. shale oil boom, oil prices would have never dropped back below $100/bbl.

Saudi Arabia was the second-leading producer at 12.3 million BPD, while Russia came in third at 11.4 million BPD. Canada added the second-most production in the world, with a 410,000 BPD gain over 2017. This was just ahead of Saudi Arabia’s 395,000 BPD increase.

These gains helped offset declines from Venezuela (-582,000 BPD), Iran (-308,000 BPD), Mexico (-156,000 BPD), Angola (-143,000 BPD), and Norway (-119,000 BPD).

This year, for the first time, the Review reported the contribution to overall oil production by natural gas liquids (NGLs). U.S. NGL production is by far the highest of any country at 4.3 million BPD (a byproduct of the shale gas boom). That’s more than the entire Middle East, and accounts for 37.6% of total global NGL production.

When NGLs are subtracted from overall oil production, U.S. production declines to 11.0 million BPD. This places the U.S. just behind Russia (11.2 million BPD) and just ahead of Saudi Arabia (10.5 million BPD).

The Review reports that global proved oil reserves increased by 0.1% to 1.73 trillion barrels. However, within this number Venezuela continues to report proved reserves of just over 300 billion barrels, which is primarily extra heavy crude in the Orinoco Belt. While there is indeed a huge resource of oil in that region, I am skeptical that there are 300 billion barrels that can be profitably extracted at current oil prices. In other words, I doubt that Venezuela’s proved reserves are still 300 billion barrels.


1. According to BP, the differences between world consumption figures and world production statistics are accounted for by stock changes, consumption of non-petroleum additives and substitute fuels, and unavoidable disparities in the definition, measurement or conversion of oil supply and demand data.

2. BP’s definition of “oil” includes natural gas liquids (NGLs), which have surged in the U.S. along with natural gas production. This is the primary reason BP’s oil production number is higher than numbers reported by the Energy Information Administration.


9 Comments on "Robert Rapier: The US Accounted For 98% Of Global Oil Production Growth In 2018"

  1. JuanP on Sun, 23rd Jun 2019 6:02 pm 


  2. More Davy Identity Theft on Sun, 23rd Jun 2019 6:17 pm 

    JuanP on Sun, 23rd Jun 2019 6:02 pm

  3. twocats on Mon, 24th Jun 2019 12:17 am 

    this summary of the report is grim as hell

  4. Tom Ballentine on Mon, 24th Jun 2019 10:39 am 

    This data sharply points out that while the world needs to cut back on carbon emissions, we are hellbent headed in the opposite direction. Not much room for hope. To hell (literally) with those who come after us. Will a conflagration in the Middle East be of assistance to mankind?

  5. Robert Inget on Mon, 24th Jun 2019 10:45 am 

    Worse than that twocats,
    It’s the very nature of the ‘oil’ that puts USA as #1.

    Now, I speaking about tight rock or shale. Not deep water which seems to be improving its economics.

    Shale predictions range from a low of a two million B p/d to eleven M B p/d. in 2023.

    Now, I don’t want to seem like a complainer.. but.
    Shale is a sea of red ink.

    Investors are running, not walking away.
    Out of ten mid sized (shale) companies seven are in danger of going BK.

    BIG Oil have conventional oil, refineries, pipelines, retail, balancing loses from shale.

    Which brings us to my main point.
    Forget about longevity. Its quality of the ultra light
    oil that at the end of the day produces good gasoline but not jet fuel or diesel.

    Venezuela just set new records for low production. Never mind sanctions, VZ can’t even bootleg what they can’t produce, good heavy oil.

    Venezuelan tankers used to deliver this heavy oil to Gulf ports and take home our ultra light
    gassy ‘oil’ to mix with heavy oil sands product.

    Bottom line, big oil can afford to drill baby drill (Over and Over) so as to sell gasoline.
    (maybe you’ll buy over priced Twinkies).

    Smaller companies simply cannot.

  6. Duncan Idaho on Mon, 24th Jun 2019 11:11 am 

    The Bakken and Eagle Ford are about over.
    That brings us to the Permian.

  7. Antius on Mon, 24th Jun 2019 12:26 pm 

    Qu: What happens when oil producers can borrow money at an interest rate that is less than inflation?
    Ans: They pour money into hugely unprofitable investments, given that they can always borrow more to cover the interest on existing loans, which are gradually being eroded in value by inflation. The effect of low returns is pushed into the future by loading them into things like pension funds that will subsequently give a truly crappy return to anyone that wants to retire.

    Qu: What happens when interest rates go up?
    Ans: Those companies die.

    The US (and world) are now locked into a regime of low interest rates that will gradually destroy the value of all investments. Since 2008, we have substituted for declining real incomes by borrowing from the future at low interest rates. The debt comes due when people want to retire and realise that there is nothing in their pension pots. At some point, this will lead to a collapse in consumer spending. But so far we have been successful in pushing the consequences into the future. We are effectively cannibalising our future in a desperate attempt to keep the party rolling for a few more years.

  8. JuanP on Tue, 25th Jun 2019 10:00 pm 

    For the record. I am the real JuanP and I haven’t posted a single comment here since before Valentine’s Day. I’ve moved on to greener pastures. I would recommend you all do the same. Reading the comments here or posting something is a complete waste of your lives. This website is fucked beyond redemption. I can’t believe what a sad fuck Delusional Davy is!

  9. Davy on Wed, 26th Jun 2019 12:26 am 

    I’m not sad Juan. I take pride in being a delusional dumbass.

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