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U.S. expected to be largest producer of petroleum and natural gas hydrocarbons in 2013

Graph of U.S., Russian, and Saudi Arabian petroleum and natural gas production, as explained in the article text

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration
Note: Petroleum production includes crude oil, natural gas liquids, condensates, refinery processing gain, and other liquids, including biofuels. Barrels per day oil equivalent were calculated using a conversion factor of 1 barrel oil equivalent = 5.55 million British thermal units (Btu).

The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates that the United States will be the world's top producer of petroleum and natural gas hydrocarbons in 2013, surpassing Russia and Saudi Arabia. For the United States and Russia, total petroleum and natural gas hydrocarbon production, in energy content terms, is almost evenly split between petroleum and natural gas. Saudi Arabia's production, on the other hand, heavily favors petroleum.

Since 2008, U.S. petroleum production has increased 7 quadrillion Btu, with dramatic growth in Texas and North Dakota. Natural gas production has increased by 3 quadrillion Btu over the same period, with much of this growth coming from the eastern United States. Russia and Saudi Arabia each increased their combined hydrocarbon output by about 1 quadrillion Btu over the past five years.

Comparisons of petroleum and natural gas production across countries are not always easy. Differences in energy content of crude oil, condensates, and natural gas produced throughout these countries make accurate conversions difficult. There are also questions regarding the inclusion of biofuels and refinery gain in the calculations. Total petroleum and natural gas hydrocarbon production estimates for the United States and Russia for 2011 and 2012 were roughly equivalent—within 1 quadrillion Btu of one another. In 2013, however, the production estimates widen out, with the United States expected to outproduce Russia by 5 quadrillion Btu.

Principal contributors: Hannah Breul, Linda Doman

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