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US crude oil production on track to surpass imports for first time since 1995

21 March 2013

Monthly crude oil production in the United States is expected to exceed the amount of US crude oil imports later this year for the first time since February 1995, according to the Energy Information Administration's March 2013 Short-Term Energy Outlook.

The gap between monthly U.S. crude oil production and imports is projected to be almost 2 million barrels per day (bbl/d) by the end of next year according to EIA's projections.

The Outlook also forecasts that:
*Monthly crude oil production could surpass net crude oil imports later this year.
*Monthly crude oil production is forecast to top 8 million bbl/d in the fourth quarter of 2014, which would be the highest level since 1988.
*Net crude oil imports are expected to fall below 7 million bbl/d in the fourth quarter of 2014 for the first time since 1995.
*This projected change is primarily because of rising domestic crude oil production, particularly from shale and other tight rock formations in North Dakota and Texas.

Given the uncertainties in this forecast, the timing of the crossover between US crude oil production and net crude oil imports could change, the EIA says, based largely on supply conditions. For example, supply would decrease if a strong 2013 hurricane season disrupts US offshore oil production (and thus delays or prevents a crossover), or increase if there are higher-than-expected increases in tight oil production (meaning production might exceed imports sooner than forecast).

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