Opinion

The United States Continues to Increase Production of Lighter Crude Oil


monthly lower 48 states crude oil production

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Monthly Crude Oil and Natural Gas Production

As domestic production continues to increase, the average density of crude oil produced in the United States continues to become lighter. The average API gravity—a measure of a crude oil's density where higher numbers mean lower density—of U.S. crude oil increased in 2017 and through the first six months of 2018. Crude oil production with an API gravity greater than 40 degrees grew by 310,000 barrels per day (b/d) to more than 4.6 million b/d in 2017. This increase represents 53% of total Lower 48 production in 2017, an increase from 50% in 2015, the earliest year for which EIA has oil production data by API gravity.

API gravity is measured as the inverse of the density of a petroleum liquid relative to water. The higher the API gravity, the lower the density of the petroleum liquid, meaning lighter oils have higher API gravities. The increase in light crude oil production is the result of the growth in crude oil production from tight formations enabled by improvements in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing.

Along with sulfur content, API gravity determines the type of processing needed to refine crude oil into fuel and other petroleum products, all of which factor into refineries' profits. Overall U.S. refining capacity is geared toward a diverse range of crude oil inputs, so it can be uneconomic to run some refineries solely on light crude oil. Conversely, it is impossible to run some refineries on heavy crude oil without producing significant quantities of low-valued heavy products such as residual fuel.

selected regions' crude oil production
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Monthly Crude Oil and Natural Gas Production

API gravity can differ greatly by production area. For example, oil produced in Texas—the largest crude oil-producing state—has a relatively broad distribution of API gravities with most production ranging from 30 to 50 degrees API. However, crude oil with API gravity of 40 to 50 degrees accounted for the largest share of Texas production, at 55%, in 2017. This category was also the fastest growing, reaching 1.9 million b/d, driven by increasing production in the tight oil plays of the Permian and Eagle Ford.

Oil produced in North Dakota's Bakken formation also tends to be less dense and lighter. About 90% of North Dakota's 2017 crude oil production had an API gravity of 40 to 50 degrees. The oil coming from the Federal Gulf of Mexico (GOM) tends to be more dense and heavier. More than 34% of the crude oil produced in the GOM in 2017 had an API gravity of lower than 30 degrees and 65% had an API gravity of 30 to 40 degrees.

imported and domestic crude oil by API gravity
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Monthly Crude Oil and Natural Gas Production and Monthly Imports Report

In contrast to the increasing production of light crude oil in the United States, imported crude oil continues to be heavier. In 2017, 7.6 million b/d (96%) of imported crude oil had an API gravity of 40 or below, compared with 4.2 million b/d (48%) of domestic production.

EIA collects API gravity production data by state in the monthly crude oil and natural gas production report as well as crude oil quality by company level imports to better inform analysis of refinery inputs and utilization, crude oil trade, and regional crude oil pricing. API gravity is also projected to continue changing: EIA's Annual Energy Outlook 2018 Reference case projects that U.S. oil production from tight formations will continue to increase in the coming decades.

Principal contributors: Emily Geary, Kyra White, Ashleigh Meade


Visit source site

https://eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=37213&...

EIAEnergy Information Administration EIAUnited StatesUSAProductionCrude oilOilLighter Crude Oil

More items from oilvoice


Equinor Deepens in Offshore Wind in Poland

Equinor has exercised an option to acquire a 50 % interest in the offshore wind development project Bałtyk I in Poland from Polenergia. This transaction is a follow-up of the agreement between the two companies which came into force in May 2018 , by which Equinor acquired a 50 % inter ...

OilVoice Press - OilVoice


Posted 3 months agoPress > EquinorEquinor EnergyPoland +2

Nigeria has highest capex on crude and natural gas projects in sub-Saharan Africa Over Next Seven Years, says GlobalData

Nigeria accounts for more than 34% of the proposed capital expenditure (capex) on planned and announced crude and natural gas projects in the sub-Saharan Africa over the period 2018–2025, according to GlobalData , a leading data and analytics company. The company's report: ‘H2 2018 Production ...

OilVoice Press - OilVoice


Posted 3 months agoOpinion > GlobalDataNigeriaCrude +5

CNOOC Signs Strategic Cooperation Agreements with 9 International Oil Companies

HONG KONG, Dec. 18, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- CNOOC Limited (the "Company", SEHK: 00883, NYSE: CEO, TSX: CNU) announced today that its parent company, China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC), has signed Strategic Cooperation Agreements with 9 international oil companies including: Chevron, Conoco ...

OilVoice Press - OilVoice


Posted 3 months agoPress > CNOOCChina National Offshore Oil CorporationChevron +11

Total Announces the Distribution of its Second 2018 Interim Dividend

The Board of Directors met on December 12, 2018 and declared  the distribution of a second interim dividend for the 2018 fiscal year of €0.64 per share, in accordance with the Board's decision of July 25, 2018, an amount equal to the first 2018 interim dividend and an increase of 3.2% compared to t ...

OilVoice Press - OilVoice


Posted 3 months agoPress > TotalDividend

Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether Capacity Will Grow at a CAGR of 16.8% in India Over Next Four Years, says GlobalData

India's Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether (MTBE) plant capacity is forecasted to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16.8% from 0.211 million tons per annum (mtpa) in 2017 to 0.460 mtpa in 2022, according to GlobalData , a leading data and analytics company. The company's report: ‘ Met ...

OilVoice Press - OilVoice


Posted 3 months agoOpinion > GlobalDataIndiaMTBE
All posts from oilvoice