U.S. crude oil production fell by 187,000 barrels to 11.68 bpd in February. The decrease comes as output dropped in the Gulf of Mexico and key on-shore oil producing states including Oklahoma and North Dakota, as the Energy Information Administration informed on Tuesday.
This is the second decline in a row, after a fall in January, the EIA said.
The U.S. raises output
Rising output to record levels due to increased production from onshore shale formations and an uptick in the Gulf of Mexico has made the U.S. the top global oil producer and has shifted global trade flows of crude. As a result, monthly production is closely watched.
Crude output in the Gulf of Mexico dropped 9.8 percent from a month earlier to 1.7 million bpd, the EIA said in its monthly 914 production report. Production fell 4.6 percent to 1.3 million bpd in North Dakota and 1.1 percent to 573,000 bpd in Oklahoma.
The losses were not offset by slight production increases in Texas and New Mexico where the Permian Basin, the largest U.S. oilfield, is located. Output in Texas, the largest-producing state, rose 1.3 percent to 4.8 million bpd, while in New Mexico, it rose 3.2 percent to 843,000 bpd.
The EIA also revised down its estimate for oil production in January by 1,000 bpd to 11.87 million bpd.
Total U.S. demand for oil in February rose 2.9 percent, or 575,000 bpd, year-on-year, to 20.2 million bpd. It was driven by strong consumption for gasoline and distillates, EIA data showed. Demand in January had been relatively unchanged from the previous year.
Gasoline demand in February was up 1.7 percent, or 146,000 bpd, year-over-year to nearly 9 million bpd.
Meanwhile, consumption of distillates soared to 4,331 million bpd, which includes heating oil and diesel, soared 9.3 percent from the previous year; including heating oil and diesel. The decline in January 2019 was the first monthly decrease since January 2018.
Monthly gross natural gas production in February stood at 108,569 million cubic feet per day; for a monthly rise by 0.5 percent and an increase by 11.6 percent as compared with 2018.
The top producing areas in the United States in February were Texas (26.5 billion cubic feet per day), Pennsylvania (18.6 bcfpd), and Alaska (9,554 bcfpd).
The EIA estimates indicate that U.S. crude production will average 12.4 million barrels per day this year and 13.1 million by 2020, according to its latest short term energy outlook published early this month.
This federal agency predicts that dry natural gas production will average 91.0 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in 2019, up 7.6 Bcf/d from 2018.
Crude imports from OPEC countries decline
Monthly data also showed that U.S. crude oil imports from OPEC countries barely reached 1.6 million barrels per day in February. This is a significant drop from the 2.27 million recorded in January. Furthermore, it constitutes the lowest monthly import volume from these countries since 1986.
This drop reflects the impact of U.S. sanctions on Venezuela’s oil imports, the OPEC production cut and, in particular, Saudi export cuts to the United States.
The U.S. sanctions imposed on the government of Nicolas Maduro entered into force on April 29. The measure bans all U.S. entities from importing Venezuelan oil.
As of that date, U.S. citizens that purchase oil or petroleum products from state-owned company Petroleos de Venezuela will be sanctioned.
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