The other big success story of the last decade, which the media is reluctant to talk about (I wonder why) is US oil shale. The industry is a major part of why oil prices are so soft, and is key to challenging OPEC dominance:
The explosive growth of U.S. shale production has capped gains of international and U.S. oil prices, offsetting OPEC’s production cuts in the first half of the year and contributing to an emerging oil glut in the latter half in 2018.
But the consequences of rising U.S. light oil production from the shale fields have also rippled through international oil flows and trade, making OPEC’s heavyweights such as Saudi Arabia fight for keeping market share in their most prized market and the world’s fastest-growing oil consumption region, Asia.
Thanks to the booming shale production, U.S. light oil exports have increased, taking market shares out of the lighter grades that Saudi Arabia and its fellow OPEC members are exporting to Asia.
Moreover, increased crude oil production in the U.S. has also resulted in higher oil product exports which, combined with higher Chinese refined product exports, have created an oversupply of products in Asia, crashing refining margins earlier in December.
U.S. crude oil production has been breaking records in recent months, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). Total U.S. petroleum exports have also been setting records over the past year, EIA data shows.
U.S. light crude oil exports to Asia have also grown and even with China shunning American crude, U.S. sales to OPEC’s key market Asia have held relatively steady since August this year, according to data from Kpler compiled by Bloomberg.