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Irina Slav

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U.S. Oil Output Could Hit Record In 2023: EIA

Crude oil production in the United States could reach 12.6 million barrels daily next year, which would be a record high on an annual-average basis, the Energy Information Administration said in its latest Short-Term Energy Outlook.

Oil production was already growing strongly, reaching 11.8 million bpd in November—the latest month the EIA has hard data for. It is still growing, too, and is expected to hit 12 million bpd this year.

Growth in U.S. production as well as growth in OPEC+ production prompted the EIA to revise its price projections for Brent crude and West Texas Intermediate for this year.

The authority now expects Brent crude to fall to some $75 per barrel by the end of the year, with the average for the full year at $82.87 per barrel. For West Texas Intermediate, the authority expects an average 2022 price of $79.35 per barrel.

“We expect Brent prices will average $90/b in February as continuing draws in global oil inventories in our forecast keep crude oil prices near current levels in the coming months,” the EIA said.

“However, we expect downward price pressures will emerge in the middle of the year as growth in oil production from OPEC+, the United States, and other non-OPEC countries outpaces slowing growth in global oil consumption.”

U.S. drillers indeed appear to be finally succumbing to the charm of higher oil prices and are boosting their drilling activities. In fact, these activities have at least one CEO of an oil major worried.

ConocoPhillips’ Ryan Lance earlier this month said he was concerned about the rate of growth in U.S. shale oil production. During a conference call, Lance said Conoco forecast an increase of 900,000 bpd in U.S. oil production this year, adding that “If you’re not worried about it you should be,” as quoted by Bloomberg.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com


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  • Mamdouh Salameh on February 09 2022 said:
    The hype by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) about shale oil production never sceases. The latest is that US crude oil production in 2023 could reach 12.6 million barrels a day (mbd).

    A simple calculation will show that shale oil production in 2022 won’t rise by more than 200,000-300,000 barrels a day (b/d) above 2021 average.

    According to the EIA, crude production in the Permian shale play averaged 4.92 million barrels a day (mbd) in December 2021 and was set to increase to 5.076 mbd in February 2022, a rise of 156,000 b/d. And since the Permian accounts for 60%-65% of total shale production, extrapolating the February figure to full production in 2022 we find that total US production increase in 2022 could range from 240,000-260,000 b/d giving a total production of 11.24-11.26 mbd in 2022.

    Putting aside the continuous hype by the EIA, the IEA and Rystad Energy, a 12.6 mbd US production in 2023 is an illusion. One reason is that the sweet spots in the shale plays have already been used so drillers are now moving to less productive plays. Another reason is that well productivity has been declining. To this could be added the lack of access to capital by the shale drillers as before because investors are interested in a healthy return on their investments rather than a reckless and unprofitable production.

    However, the fact that shale drillers are sticking to production discipline has less to do with capital discipline and far more to do with inability to raise their production beyond 200,000-300,000 b/d.

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Visiting Professor of Energy Economics at ESCP Europe Business School, London

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