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US becomes net oil exporter in Sept. for 1st time in 70 years

This March 13, 2014 file photo shows drilling work for shale oil production in the U.S. state of Texas. (Kyodo)

WASHINGTON (Kyodo) -- The United States became a net exporter of crude and petroleum products in September for the first time in 70 years on the back of increased shale oil production, government data showed Friday.

U.S. monthly oil exports surpassed imports by 89,000 barrels per day, making the country a net exporter on a monthly basis for the first time since the government started compiling data in 1949.

Projecting the trend will continue, the U.S. Energy Information Administration expects the country to be a net exporter of crude and petroleum products in 2020 as well.

The growing role of the United States as a global energy supplier would exert downward pressure on oil prices.

According to the data, U.S. oil exports in September rose 18 percent from a year earlier to around 8.76 million barrels per day, while its imports dropped 12 percent to about 8.67 million barrels.

After becoming the world's largest crude oil producer in 2018 for the first time in 45 years on the back of increased shale production, the country's oil exports have expanded rapidly.

According to the EIA's short-term energy outlook, released earlier this month, U.S. crude oil and petroleum net exports are expected to average 750,000 barrels per day in 2020 compared with average net imports of 520,000 barrels per day in 2019.

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