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New data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) shows the United States on track to produce crude oil at record numbers in 2018, according to a new report by Market Watch.
March’s estimates for output next year had domestic oil production at 9.73 million barrels per day, but this month, the agency predicts a jump to 9.9 million for the same time period.
Based on EIA records that date to 1859, the newly forecasted production levels would be the highest to date.
“U.S. crude oil production is expected to be higher during the next two years than previously forecast, with annual output in 2018…exceeding the previous record level of 9.6 million barrels per day reached in 1970,” Howard Gruenspecht, the EIA’s acting administrator, said in a statement Tuesday.
But experts say high growth in American shale oil ventures could mean even the new forecasts could be too low.
“The main driver is the growth in shale production,” said James Williams, an energy economist at WTRG. “We could easily be at 9.9 [million barrels a day] by next April. I think the average next year should be above 10 million b/d unless the oil price collapses.”
Rapid growth in American shale output has prompted Saudi oil officials to warn of extended oil price volatility if the production hikes continue.
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“We will not bear the burden for free riders this time,” Saudi Oil Minister Khalid told reporters in Houston last month. “Saudi Arabia will not allow itself to be used by others.”
“This is for the benefit of all,” the official added, referring to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ (OPEC) recent deal to reduce the bloc’s output by 1.2 million barrels. The group is currently in the process of deciding whether or not to extend the cuts through the second half of 2017.
By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com
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Zainab Calcuttawala is an American journalist based in Morocco. She completed her undergraduate coursework at the University of Texas at Austin (Hook’em) and reports on…