The U.S. is still the world’s biggest hydrocarbon producer

The U.S. was the world’s biggest producer of hydrocarbon fuels for the third year in a row in 2014, according to new government data.

Record natural gas production and a historic crude oil surge widened the gap between the U.S. and its two closest rivals, Russia and Saudi Arabia, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said in a report Tuesday.

The total U.S. daily output of liquid and gas energy in 2014 was 54.6 quadrillion British thermal units, an increase of 4.8 quadrillion Btu over 2013.

Russia produced 43 quadrillion Btu, while Saudi Arabia produced 27.5 quadrillion.

The increasing gap results both from rising U.S. production in dense rock formations because of technological advances, and from stagnating production in Russia and Saudi Arabia.

Europe’s demand for natural gas fell after a warm winter and a regional economic slowdown, leading Russian gas production to falter. And while oil production in Russia increased in 2014, it grew at its slowest rate in five years — just 0.07 percent, according to the March oil market report from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

And oil and gas production in Saudi Arabia has remained relatively unchanged since 2008.

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