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EIA Predicts Fifth Monthly Oil Output Decline

Crude oil production in the United States is set to decline for the fifth month in a row in February, according to the Energy Information Administration.

In its latest Drilling Productivity Report, the EIA said that production across the shale patch in February was set to be 2,000 barrels daily lower than it was in January, at 9.68 million bpd. The only play where production is set to continue growing next month is the Permian, where output is seen rising to 5.974 million bpd from a forecast 5.97 million bpd this month.

However, the EIA has not always been accurate in its monthly output move predictions. Last summer, for instance, it kept forecasting decline after decline but actual production numbers revealed oil output in the shale patch had been growing.

More recently, the EIA predicted a production decline for December, to 9.653 million bpd from 9.654 million bpd in November. In actuality, December oil output grew, to 9.693 million bpd. Output for the current month is also predicted to have declined, to 9.682 million bpd.

For this year, the EIA expects overall growth in oil production but at a slower rate than last year’s. This time, the prediction is shared by some in the industry. 2024 production is seen adding 290,000 bpd to reach a record high of 13.21 million barrels daily. The rate of growth, however, would be around a third of the rate, at which crude oil production grew last year.

That rate took most observers by surprise, as rigs fell for most of the year, creating the perception that output was in decline as well. Yet drilling efficiency gains and better-than-expected well performance drove output higher by close to a million barrels daily.

Interestingly, the EIA does not expect higher oil prices despite its prediction for slower U.S. production growth combined with continued OPEC+ output cuts.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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