U.S. to become net petroleum exporter in 2020: EIA

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The United States is on track to become a net exporter of crude and fuel for the first time on record on an annual basis in 2020, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said on Tuesday, due to a production surge that has dramatically reduced the dependence on foreign oil.

FILE PHOTO: An oil worker removes a thread cap from a piece of drill pipe on a drilling lease owned by Elevation Resources near Midland, Texas, U.S., February 12, 2019. REUTERS/Nick Oxford/File Photo

U.S. crude oil production is expected to rise by 930,000 barrels per day (bpd) to a record 13.18 million bpd next year, the EIA said, slightly below its previous forecast for a rise of 1 million bpd.

Net exports of crude oil and petroleum products are expected to average 570,000 bpd in 2020, the EIA said.

U.S. shale output has boomed over the past decade, helping make the nation the world’s largest crude oil producer and a major exporter with an average of just under 3 million bpd so far this year.

For 2019, output is expected to rise by 1.26 million bpd to a record 12.25 million bpd, the EIA said in its monthly Short Term Energy Outlook, also slightly below its previous growth forecast of 1.3 million bpd.

“September marked the first month in U.S. recorded data that the United States exported more crude oil and petroleum products than it imported,” EIA Administrator Linda Capuano said in a statement.

The rate of output growth is expected to slow as producers have reduced the number of oil rigs operating for a record 12th month in a row, sidelining a quarter of the country’s drilling rigs in the past year, according to service firm Baker Hughes.

Still, the decline in drilling rigs is expected to be offset by a rise in rig efficiency and well-level productivity, Capuano said.

The EIA left its forecasts for U.S. demand in 2019 and 2020 unchanged.

In 2019, the agency expects U.S. petroleum and other liquid fuels demand to climb 80,000 bpd to 20.58 million bpd, and for 2020, it expects U.S. demand to rise 170,000 bpd to 20.75 million bpd.

The EIA raised its 2020 world oil demand growth forecast by 50,000 bpd to 1.42 million bpd.

Most analysts expect global oil demand growth to slow in 2020 due to a prolonged trade war between the United States and China, the world’s two largest economies.

Reporting by Devika Krishna Kumar in New York; Editing by Chris Reese, Marguerita Choy and Leslie Adler