National Post (Latest Edition)

U.S. oil output hits record bpd in March

- Scott Disavino and Jessica Resnick-ault

U.S. crude oil production jumped 215,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 10.47 million bpd in March, the highest on record, the Energy Informatio­n Administra­tion (EIA) said in a monthly report Thursday.

Production in Texas rose by four per cent to almost 4.2 million bpd, a record high based on the data going back to 2005. The Permian basin, which stretches across West Texas and eastern New Mexico, is the largest U.S. oilfield.

Output from North Dakota held around 1.2 million bpd, while output in the federal Gulf of Mexico declined 1.1 per cent to 1.7 million bpd.

The agency also revised February oil production down by 5,000 bpd to 10.26 million bpd. U.S. crude oil output rose above 10 million bpd late last year for the first time since the 1970s, overtaking top oil exporter Saudi Arabia, but it still lags behind Russia, which pumps just below 11 million bpd.

U.S. oil imports from Venezuela dropped more than three million bpd to 13.21 million bpd in the month, approachin­g the all-time low 13.20 million bpd, reported in January 2003. OPEC-member Venezuela’s oil output is down amid political unrest.

Gasoline demand in March was 9.4 million bpd, up 1 per cent, or 94,000 bpd, from a year earlier, according to the report. At the same time, gasoline exports rose to 951,000 bpd, up 361,000 bpd from a year earlier.

Demand for distillate fuels, including diesel and heating oil was 4.2 million bpd, up 0.4 per cent, or 15,000 bpd, from a year earlier. Distillate fuel exports were 1.15 million bpd in the month, down about 12,000 bpd from a year earlier.

U.S. natural gas production in the lower 48 states rose to an all-time high of 88.8 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) in March, up from the prior record of 87.7 bcfd in February, according to EIA’s 914 production report.

The United States has been the world’s biggest producer of gas since 2009, ahead of Russia.

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