Considering that the US was nearly 2mn b/d behind Saudi Arabia in 2018 this is a remarkable development. Last year was already notable for the US, as it notched up record export volumes, and overtook Russia to become the world’s second largest exporter. With Russian volumes staying relatively flat, there is no risk of the US having to look over its shoulder in 2019.

The extraordinary shift is due to a number of factors. Firstly, and most obviously, the US shale revolution has powered a rapid increase in oil production, which has in turn boosted exports. Secondly, Saudi Arabia has implemented deep production cuts in excess of its Opec obligations in its efforts to rebalance global markets. Finally, Saudi Arabia’s products balance has evolved. Up until 2018 it used to feed domestic demand through imports, enabling it to export the bulk of its refined products. But this year, Saudi Arabia has cut imports, consumed more of its own output domestically, and therefore seen gross products exports fall. (CONTINUED - 932 WORDS)