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U.S. Shale To Break Records Despite Bearish Rhetoric

Crude oil production in the U.S. shale patch is seen rising by 49,000 bpd next month to a record-high daily average of 9.133 million barrels. That’s according to the latest edition of the Energy Information Administration’s Drilling Productivity Report.

A month earlier, the EIA estimated that total shale oil production will rise by 58,000 bpd in November from October, to 8.971 million bpd. The latest report, however, pegged the November average at more than that: 9.048 million barrels daily.

As usual, the production increase is the highest in the Permian, at 57,000 bpd between November and December. This rise will make up for the 12,000-bpd production decline in the Anadarko basin and the 14,000-bpd decline in the Eagle Ford. In the Bakken, Niobrara, and Appalachia, oil production will increase, although more modestly, by 9,000 bpd, 6,000 bpd, and 3,000 bpd, respectively.

While the forecast December average is a record figure, for oil traders the more important news is that production growth is slowing down. This is a welcome change of tune after a slew of bearish reports.

The International Energy Agency, for instance, said in its new World Energy Outlook, that U.S. oil production growth will remain the fastest and greatest in the world, accounting for 85 percent of global oil production growth until 2030.

OPEC also had bad news for oil bulls in its latest Monthly Oil Market Report. In it, the cartel revised down its global oil demand forecast for 2020 and demand for its own oil, too. However, in a silver lining, OPEC also revised down its outlook for U.S. oil production growth by 33,000 bpd.

This many not be a lot, but it is yet another indication that production growth is slowing down, mostly because of prices and persistent pressure from shareholders for higher returns at the expense of production expansion.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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