The U.S. set records this past summer for production of crude oil and natural gas liquids, but there are some looming factors that could slow the country's amazing growth in fossil fuel production, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
Dean Foreman, the Chief Economist for the American Petroleum Institute, told News Radio 1200 WOAI that in August, the U.S. produced 4.4 million barrels per day of natural gas liquids. That comes on the heels of 10.8 million bpd of U.S. oil production in July. Both of the figures are new all time records.
Foreman says the U.S. is now effectively the 'swing producer' in the world's oil markets.
"We are supplying all of the world's growth rights now," he said. "We are compensating for losses among OPEC countries."
Foreman says stronger U.S. production has made up for a free fall in production from incompetently-managed Venezuela, from chaotic OPEC nations like Libya and Iraq, and from Iran, which is being hit by oil export sanctions.
The U.S. is on the verge of surpassing Saudi Arabia and Russia to become the world's largest oil producer. About a third to half of U.S. production is now from Texas, which makes Texas alone the third largest producer of oil in the world.
But Foreman says there are a couple of barriers to continued robust production growth.First of all is a lack of pipeline capacity to get that oil to the refineries and terminals, mainly in the fast growing Permian Basin of west Texas.
But he says the biggest concern right now is Trump Administration imposed trade tariffs, which threaten to disrupt U.S. oil exports to consuming nations like China.
"On the export side, the biggest shift in trends that we have noticed the last two months is a decrease in U.S. petroleum exports, both crude oil and refined products."
He says as U.S. exports slow, the markets are shifting, and producers could end of buying crude elsewhere.
But today, Foreman says U.S. motorists are enjoying about a $10 a barrel premium at the gas pump due to robust U.S. petroleum production. That means that our prices in San Antonio would be over $3 a barrel, instead of the current $2.52 average, were it not for booming oil production.