US oil imports to drop
File photo of a worker adjusting the valve of an oil pipe.

US oil demand could edge up in 2013 and 2014 after dropping to the lowest level in 15 years in 2012, while imports could slip to the lowest in over two decades, according to government estimates.

The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) has said that demand is likely to increase 0.3 percent to 18.71 million barrels a day in 2013 from 18.65 million in the previous year before picking up to 18.77 million barrels in 2014.

EIA estimates the total liquid fuel imports, including crude oil to drop to 6 million barrels a day by 2014. This is the lowest level since 1987 and about half the high levels touched in 2005. Net imports had dropped to 7.5 million barrels a day in 2012.

Demand for petrol, the most popular oil product in the US is expected to remain little changed from the 2012 level of 8.73 million barrels a day till 2014. Petrol demand had eased for the third straight year in 2012 by 0.2 percent to an 11 year low.

The lower import rates indicate the impact of the surge in oil production which expected to increase 14 percent in 2014 to 7.3 million barrels a day mainly due to the resources from shale oil-fields.

Speaking to the Financial Times,  Jack Gerard, head of the American Petroleum Institute noted that the US stood at "a great turning point in our nation's history", that would "realign the energy axis toward the west and into our own control".

Some industry experts, including those from the International Energy Agency had earlier predicted that US could become world's largest oil producer overtaking Saudi Arabia within the decade. EIA has so far refrained from any such forecasts, suggesting that the kind of oil compared and Riyadh's output policies will be critical.  

US's lower dependence on imports is expected to bring in a modest stability to prices and increase employment rate in the oil sector.  EIA expects the increased US oil output to push prices down with the Brent Crude estimated to slip to $99 per barrel in 2014 from the $112 in the previous year.