A worker operates the drill
Rosneft oil company
Sergei Karpukhin / Reuters
Russia has once again taken the crown from Saudi Arabia
as the world's biggest
The two countries are
global leaders in crude production by a wide margin, trading the top
spot from time to time.
10.49 million barrels per day (bpd) in December, down 29,000
barrels a day from November.
output dropped to 10.46 million bpd from 10.72 million bpd,
according to Monday's data from the Joint Organizations
Data Initiative in Riyadh.
This was the first time
Russia became top producer since March 2016.
Riyadh's crude exports
fell to eight million bpd from 8.26 million bpd in November, the
biggest monthly slide since May 2003.
The United States
is in third place, producing 8.8 million bpd in December.
At the same time,
America is neck-and-neck
with China as the world's
largest crude importer, buying 7.88 million bpd of crude
The growth in US
production mostly came from the Texas'
Permian Basin and Eagle Ford
regions, which have better quality oil. However, local refineries
can't process it because they are geared to process poorer quality
crude from Canada and Venezuela.
The US producers export
the higher quality oil and import what they need from abroad.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)
and oil producers outside the cartel led by Russia have agreed to
prop up prices by cutting production by almost 1.8 million barrels
per day during the first half of the year to curb a global
On Monday, Brent crude was trading at $56.18 per barrel, while the
US benchmark West Texas Intermediate rose to $53.69.