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A petro-tipping point: U.S. to surpass Saudi oil exports

Oil and gas wells on Denver International Airport property as seen from a passenger plane landing at the airport in Denver, Colorado.
Oil and gas wells on Denver International Airport property. Photo: Robert Alexander/Getty Images

Rising U.S. exports of crude oil and petroleum products (like gasoline) combined are poised to overtake Saudi Arabia's by the end of the year, Rystad Energy predicts in a new analysis.

Why it matters: It's a testament to how the U.S. oil boom is increasingly affecting global trade. And it's just symbolically interesting.

What they're saying: "This remarkable turnaround is made possible by the continued rise in oil production from [U.S.] shale plays and the increased oil export capacity from the Gulf Coast," the consultancy said in a brief report.

But, but, but: The U.S. is not rivaling the Saudis when it comes to crude oil exports anytime soon, even as the U.S. crude shipments grow.

  • Numbers bounce around but overall the Saudis are exporting around 7 million barrels per day of crude. The U.S. levels — which have grown sharply in recent years — are still typically much less than half that amount.
  • But the U.S. exports lots of gasoline, diesel and other petroleum products.

The bottom line: The Saudis are at around 9 million barrels per day when you combine crude, natural gas liquids and other petroleum products. The U.S. is at around 8 million and rising.

Go deeper: The climate effect of high oil production and lower prices