Report: Despite Pandemic, US Led Global Oil and Gas Output in 2020

Thanks to a resilient natural gas market, the US led all other nations in hydrocarbon production in terms of total energy output.

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The US produced more oil, petroleum liquids, and natural gas than any other nation last year, according to newly released figures from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA). The US managed to lead the world for the seventh year despite seeing a year-over-year decline from a record high output in 2019.

The EIA pegged combined oil and gas production in the US in 2020 at 66.9 quadrillion BTUs. This topped Russia and Saudi Arabia’s output of 45.5 quadrillion BTUs and 26.5 quadrillion BTUs, respectively.

“Petroleum and natural gas production fell in all three countries in 2020 following a rapid decline in demand during the COVID-19 pandemic and the consequent crude oil price declines, particularly in the first quarter of 2020,” the report read. “Saudi Arabia and Russia agreed to reduce their crude oil production as part of an OPEC+ agreement, but in the United States, reduced production was largely the result of a price-induced fall in tight-oil investments and, to a lesser extent, unplanned outages.”

The EIA noted that its accounting of petroleum production encompasses several types of liquid fuels, including condensate, natural gas plant liquids, and bitumen. US crude production led the declines with a year-over-year drop from 31.8 quadrillion BTUs to 30.4 quadrillion BTUs in 2020. Natural gas and other liquid petroleum and gas products suffered far less from the pandemic-driven demand shock and in some cases saw slight increases in domestic and international consumption.