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Julianne Geiger

Julianne Geiger

Julianne Geiger is a veteran editor, writer and researcher for Oilprice.com, and a member of the Creative Professionals Networking Group.

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U.S. Oil Production Fell To 11 Million Bpd In December

U.S. crude oil production fell in December to an average 11.063 million barrels per day, according to the Energy Information Administration’s latest monthly report.

U.S. crude oil production fell an average of 58,000 barrels per day, the EIA said on Friday.

U.S. production from the most prolific PADD, PADD 3, stayed the same for the month of December at 7.611 million barrels per day. This includes production from Texas and federal offshore PADD 3 production, as well as New Mexico, Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Alabama.

The second most prolific crude oil PADD, PADD 2, fell from 1.828 million bpd in November to 1.782 million bpd in December. This includes producers such as North Dakota and Oklahoma.

But the production losses likely did not stop in December.

While December is the last full month for which there is actual data, the EIA estimates weekly crude oil production as well, and those estimates are below the 11.063 million bpd the United States saw in December.

For perspective on how sharp of a drop that is, average production in December 2019 was over 12.8 million barrels per day, according to EIA data.

For January, the EIA estimated that some weeks dipped as low as 10.9 million bpd. And the EIA’s most recent production estimates for week ending February 19 pegs total U.S. crude production at an average of just 9.7 million bpd.

This dramatic drop in crude oil production in the previous week is likely courtesy of the Texas Freeze, when refinery and crude oil production had to be curtailed due to freezing temperatures that cut power to millions of residents in the state.

The EIA estimates that U.S. crude production will not exceed the levels seen in 2020 until 2022.

By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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  • Mamdouh Salameh on February 28 2021 said:
    The US shale oil industry was the most hit among global industries as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. I calculated that at the height of the pandemic US oil production fell by 6.5 million barrels a day (mbd) giving the US a total production of 6.1-6.3 mbd. So how could US oil production fall to 11 mbd in December? Fall from what?

    Moreover, in December Brent crude oil price was ranging from $45-$50 a barrel which is far below the breakeven price of $48-$68 for the overwhelming majority of shale drillers. Furthermore, the US Energy Information Administration’s (EIA’s) figure is an estimate and we know by now how EIA’s estimates tend to deviate always upwards.

    Based on the devastation wreaked by the pandemic and the steep decline in US oil rigs, I have calculated that US shale oil production had declined from 7.6 mbd before the pandemic to 1.1 mbd. If we add a conventional oil production of 4.99 mbd, we come to a total US production of 6.09 mbd.

    This bullish factor has recently been supporting the impressive surge of crude oil prices. I reckon that a comeback of US oil production to previous levels soon is unlikely.

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

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