Workers hired by U.S. oil and gas company Apache Corp drill a horizontal well in the Wolfcamp Shale in west Texas Permian Basin near the town of Mertzon, Texas. Image Credit: REUTERS

Abu Dhabi: The world and oil markets in particular, are still catching up to the US as a leading energy provider — and the world’s largest oil producer — said a leading US official who spoke in Abu Dhabi on Sunday at the Atlantic Council Global Energy Forum.

“The trend is pretty clear … We’re on track to produce 13.3 million barrels per day this year. It’s absolutely tremendous,” said Francis Fannon, assistant secretary, Bureau of Energy Resources, US Department of State.

“I think it’s really a remarkable day in terms of US energy and the US energy ability to contribute as a reliable supplier. But it’s not the US government doing it; it’s the US business [community], it’s the private sector,” he added.

“What I think the market is seeing — and they’re still catching up to this new era of US energy abundance and US contribution — is that the US production is there. It’s safe, it’s secure and it will respond based on market conditions,” he said.

Fannon, who also works closely on Iran-related sanctions to its oil sector, spoke on US-Iran escalation in the region, stating that the US policy of maximum pressure was working despite the recent violence, which saw Iran launching missiles against a US military base in Iraq.

“I was here last year, at that time we were allowing eight countries to continue to import permissible volumes [of oil]. Since that time we’ve eliminated that completely [and] we’ve taken over 2 million barrels off the market.

“We continue the maximum pressure campaign, as I’m sure you saw, some additional sanctions have been imposed. We’ll continue to go after both those individuals as well as sources of revenue,” he added.

When pressed on the US end goal, Fannon reiterated the US government talking point of wanting to reach a diplomatic solution with Iran.

“We’ve not said we’ve sought regime change. From the beginning we’ve asked Iran to behave like a normal country.

“Iran has such great opportunities. What we want to see is them to become a normal country and welcome them back to the community of nations … We’re committed to that and committed to working in partnership with our friends,” he added.