The U.S. overtook Saudi Arabia as the world's top oil exporter in June, thanks to rising shale oil production in the country and OPEC cuts that were mostly undertaken by Saudi Arabia, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said Thursday.
"The U.S. momentarily claimed the number one spot in June, after crude exports surged above 3 million barrels per day (mbpd), lifting total exports of crude and products to nearly 9 mbpd," the IEA said.
"At the same time, Saudi Arabia cut back on both crude and refined product exports," the IEA added in its Oil Market Report for September.
The IEA report did not provide specific figures for crude oil exports of the U.S. and Saudi Arabia, however, the Joint Organizations Data Initiative (JODI) figures show that Saudi Arabia's crude oil exports averaged 6.72 mbpd in June, while exports of total oil products averaged 1.27 mbpd. This brought the total amount of oil exports for the country in June to 7.99 mbpd.
In June, the U.S.' crude oil exports averaged 3.41 mbpd, and total oil product exports amounted to 5.44 mbpd, bringing the total tally of oil exports to 8.85 mbpd.
The IEA said the completion of necessary oil pipelines and terminals in the U.S. now make it possible for an increase in the country's oil exports.
Nonetheless, Saudi Arabia reclaimed the top spot in oil exports in the months of July and August, according to the IEA.
"U.S. production was affected by hurricane disruptions. The U.S. trade dispute with China has also made it more difficult for shale shipments to find markets," the IEA said.
For crude oil production, the U.S. surpassed Saudi Arabia in October 2018 with 11.2 mbpd of output, and then unseated Russia with 11.7 mbpd in November 2018 to become the world's largest crude producer.
Due to the production cut agreement between OPEC and its allies, Saudi Arabia's crude oil production averaged 9.83 mbpd in June, down 4.6% from the 2018 average level of 10.31 mbpd, according to OPEC's Monthly Oil Market Report for September.
The U.S.' crude oil exports increased gradually after December 2015 when former President Barack Obama lifted the four-decades-old self-imposed ban on exports of domestically produced crude oil that was active since 1973 during the OPEC oil crisis.
By Ovunc Kutlu