2013 October 18

The Master Resource Report 2013-10-18

Study: US now top global liquids producer

According to New York based PIRA Energy Group the US is now the world’s top petroleum liquids producer at 12.1 million barrels per day. So what?

Upstream reported “The US total includes 7.4 million bpd of crude oil and condensate, 2.5 bpd of natural gas liquids, 1 million bpd of biofuels and 1.3 million bpd of “refinery gain”, a measure of “sophisticated high conversion capabilities”, according to PIRA’s analysis.”

Wait a minute refinery gains are now a form of production? Biofuels are petroleum? NGLs are as good as crude?

There is no doubt that US crude and condensate production have increased tremendously and stand as a testament to good old fashion American engineering but including the 4.8 million barrels of non-crude in the total is more than a little bit of a stretch.

Refinery gains are an expansion in volume not energy content and in fact on a net basis require energy input to accomplish. Since the rest of the world doesn’t consider “refinery gains” this should be ignored, think in terms of energy content.

In the case of biofuels without all the natural gas (fertilizer), diesel (farm equip. & transport of biomass) and other petrochemical inputs like pesticides it wouldn’t be possible. As many have noted it is questionable whether there is even a net energy gain, especially in the case of corn based ethanol.

The NGLs like propane and ethane play a part but not in the all-important markets of liquid fuels like diesel and gasoline.

Finally if we are such leaders in global production why are we still importing 6.5 million barrels of crude per day? This issue was covered in the October 4 issue of the MRR.

So even if we take this on face the US still depends on the global export market for just under half of the crude it consumes. Apparently the study didn’t bother to cover the other half of the story. Importantly it was the half where the US is still the world’s Largest Liquids Consumer.


Note: There will be no Master Resource Report published on November 1, 2013