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ConocoPhillips Worried About U.S. Oil Production Growth

If you're not concerned about the rate at which U.S. crude oil production could grow this year, you should be, ConocoPhillips Chief executive Officer Ryan Lance said on a conference call on Thursday, according to Bloomberg.

U.S. crude oil production has grown from 11 million bpd at the beginning of 2021 to 11.7 million bpd at the beginning of 2022. But production in the United States could see sharper growth this year, Lance noted.

According to Lance, U.S. crude oil production could grow by as much as 900,000 bpd over the course of 2022—this is an increase of 100,000 bpd from Lance's previous estimate.

This rate of crude oil production growth could cause worry, despite the current tight market.

"If you're not worried about it you should be.," Lance said.

One need only to look at the U.S.-based oil production plans from some of the largest oil companies. Earlier this week, Exxon and Chevron divulged their 2022 plans that detailed aggressive production increases—particularly in the Permian basin.

Exxon has plans to increase oil production in the Permian by 25% this year. Chevron, for its part, expects its production to increase 10%.

The Energy Information Administration agrees that oil production in the United States is poised for a surge—after already reaching a new record. According to the EIA, crude production in the Permian shale play averaged 4.92 million bpd in December, and was set to increase to 4.996 million bpd in January and 5.076 million bpd in February. If the Permian basin were an OPEC member, this level of production would make it OPEC's second-largest producer.

IHS Markit noted that this year's higher oil prices would enable many oil producers to not only return cash to shareholders, but also to ramp up production—unlike in 2020 and 2021.

But contrary to ConocoPhillips' warning, not everyone is concerned that the United States will be able to ramp up production enough to bring down crude prices. Earlier this week, Bloomberg quoted Elisabeth Murphy from ESAI Energy as saying, "U.S. production may surprise to the upside this year, but not by so much that it will significantly bring down oil prices."


By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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  • Mamdouh Salameh on February 04 2022 said:
    Since its inception in 2008, US shale oil production and potential have been the subject of excessive hype by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) in cahoots with the IEA and Rystad Energy.

    Now US oil major ConocoPhillips has joined the hype telling us that shale production could rise from an average production of 11.0 million barrels a day (mbd) in 2021 to 11.9 mbd by the end of 2022.

    However, 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 mbd in December, and was set to increase to 5.076 mbd in February, a rise of 156,000 b/d. And since the Permian accounts for 60%-65% of total shale production, then total production increase in 2022 could range from 240,000-260,000 b/d giving a total US production of 11.24-11.26 mbd in 2022.

    Sometime ago, I reached the conclusion that a shale oil comeback is a mirage touted every now and then to influence rising crude oil prices but it will lead nowhere. 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.

    The maximum shale oil production could rise is estimated at 200,000-300,000 b/d hardly enough to impact roaring crude oil prices.

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

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