January 25, 2019 12:00 PM, EST

US Crude Production to Beat EIA’s Outlook by 23 Years

Crude OilAngus Mordant/Bloomberg News

A year ago, the U.S. government envisioned American crude production averaging 11.95 million barrels a day in 2042. Shale drillers are set to exceed that this year.

The Energy Information Administration now estimates output will top out at 14.53 million barrels a day in 2031, according to its Annual Energy Outlook released Jan. 24.

Why such a big difference? Near-term prices are higher than what the agency assumed last year, boosting the baseline production, according to EIA.

Crude Oil

Angus Mordant/Bloomberg News

The United States will be a net exporter of petroleum — and energy in general — next year, years sooner than previous annual estimates, something EIA flagged in its short-term outlook earlier this month. That’s due to the faster increases in crude and natural gas liquids production, combined with slower demand growth, according to EIA Administrator Linda Capuano.

“America’s move to net exports was supposed to be five or six years off,” said Kevin Book, managing director of the Washington-based consultancy ClearView Energy Partner. “Now it’s next year. That’s big news.”