(Corrects last paragraph to state U.S. net crude oil imports fell below 5 million barrels, not total U.S. oil imports)
* IEA chief Birol says U.S. could already overtake Russia in 2018
* Birol says he does not see U.S. production peak before 2020
* U.S. has already overtaken output of top exporter Saudi Arabia
* The U.S. shale revolution: tmsnrt.rs/2EtJgen
By Osamu Tsukimori
TOKYO, Feb 27 (Reuters) - The United States will overtake Russia as the world’s biggest oil producer by 2019 at the latest, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Tuesday, as the country’s shale oil boom continues to upend global markets.
IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol said in Tokyo the United States would overtake Russia as the biggest crude oil producer “definitely next year”, if not this year.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration said early this month that U.S. output would exceed 11 million bpd by late 2018.
That would take it past top producer Russia, which pumps just below 11 million bpd C-RU-OUT.
Birol separately told Reuters he did not see U.S. oil production peaking before 2020, and that he did not see a decline in the next four to five years.
The soaring U.S. production is upending global oil markets, coming at a time when a group of other major producers around Russia and the Middle East-dominated Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) have been voluntarily withholding output in order to prop up prices.
U.S. oil is also increasingly being exported, including to the world’s biggest and fastest growing markets in Asia, eating away at OPEC and Russian market share.
Meanwhile, U.S. net imports of crude oil fell last week by 1.6 million bpd to 4.98 million bpd, the lowest level since the EIA started recording the data in 2001, further eroding a market OPEC has been relying on for decades.