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U.S. 'Likely' Surpasses Saudi Arabia, Russia As Largest Crude Oil Producer

The United States has "likely" surpassed Russia and Saudi Arabia to become the world's largest producer of crude oil, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) says.

The EIA on September 12 said that based on preliminary data and estimates, U.S. crude-oil output in February exceeded that of Saudi Arabia for the first time in more than two decades.

It added that the United States in June and August surpassed Russia in production for the first time since February 1999.

The EIA said it expected that U.S. crude output will continue to outpace Russia and Saudi Arabia for the remainder of this year and through 2019.

"U.S. crude-oil production, particularly from light, sweet crude-oil grades, has rapidly increased since 2011," it said in its Short-Term Energy Outlook.

"Much of the recent growth has occurred in areas such as the Permian region in western Texas and eastern New Mexico, the Federal Offshore Gulf of Mexico, and the Bakken region in North Dakota and Montana," it added.

The EIA estimated that U.S. crude production will average 10.7 million barrels a day in 2018, up from 9.4 million barrels a day in 2017, and that it will average 11.5 million barrels a day in 2019.

A decline in oil prices midway through 2014 led to U.S. producers to cut back on output. But after world prices increased in early 2016, it said, investment and production began to ramp up.

Russian and Saudi production rates have remained relatively steady in recent years, the report said.

The last time the United States was the world's production leader was in 1973.