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Biden admin confident of U.S. oil production boost by year's end

WASHINGTON, March 22 (Reuters) - The U.S. energy secretary said on Tuesday the Biden administration believes producers will boost U.S. oil supply by the end of the year, two weeks after she urged them to raise output quickly in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said at the CERAWeek energy conference in Houston this month that any oil and gas company that can increase supply should do so quickly after President Joe Biden banned U.S. imports of Russian oil.

Russia, one of the world's top petroleum producers, accounts for about 8% of U.S. imports of liquid fuels. Last year, the United States imported about 672,000 barrels per day here of Russian crude oil and refined fuels.

The administration is confident that “there will be a significant increase in supply by the end of this year, and we’re hopeful that they live up to that” Granholm said referring to oil producers in a conference call with reporters.

She said public and private talks at the Houston conference focused on ramping up supply, but suggested that higher oil production could take time.

“You can’t just flip the switch and have them come on overnight,” Granholm told reporters about oil rigs. Even though the U.S. oil rig count has climbed for a record 18 months in a row, the increases have small and oil production was still far from pre-pandemic record levels as many companies focus more on returning money to investors rather than boosting output.

U.S. crude production slipped for a second year in a row to 11.2 million bpd in 2021 from a record 12.3 million bpd in 2019. Output is expected to recover to 12 million bpd in 2022 and 13 million bpd in 2023, according to the Energy Information Administration, the independent statistics branch of the Energy Department, forecast in March.

Oil companies such as Chesapeake Energy and Occidental Petroleum have said that shortages of equipment, supplies and labor could limit growth in the short term. (Reporting by Timothy Gardner Editing by Marguerita Choy)

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