After decades of restriction, the United States is quickly becoming a major player in the crude oil exports market. Ports in Louisiana and Texas have seen record amounts of energy exports, with tankers leaving in droves every day. Very recently the United States passed the 2 million barrels per day threshold, and this growth shows no signs of stopping. Yet while this growth is clearly a boon for our economy and position on the international scale, some have pointed out that our infrastructure may soon reach its limit without proper expansions.
While the actual amount of crude oil that the United States is able to export is not known – terminal operators and companies do not disclose their capacity, and the U.S. Energy Department does not track it – many in the industry have expressed concerns over reaching infrastructure capacity. Without question, oil export infrastructure will need further investment in the near future. Bottle necked capacity will not affect only storage and loading capacity, but would reach into our pipeline capacity as well.
The United States currently produces about 9.5 million barrels of crude oil each day, and this number is expected to rise by about 1 million bpd annually. As production continues, we’ll naturally need to look for additional markets to sell our product. This will test our exporting capacity soon, as our exports are already skyrocketing. Over the past four weeks, for example, crude oil exports averaged 1.7 million barrels per day. That’s more than triple the average from a year ago.
Our production of natural resources is simply not going to slow down. We continue to reach tremendous heights, bringing communities and workers along the way. We need to ensure that our infrastructure is sufficient and capable to transport these resources where they need to go. As the United States continues to become a major player on the international energy stage, it will become paramount that we have the capacity to move our product to market.
The GAIN coalition is thrilled to see the progress we’ve made in becoming energy dominant, and we hope to see the proper focus given to our energy infrastructure to ensure that this continues.