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EIA raises 2015 US oil production forecast

NEW YORK, March 12, 2015

The US Energy Information Administration revised upward its 2015 domestic oil production outlook, but lowered its 2016 forecast because it expects the slump in global prices to weigh on the country's shale boom next year.

Expected total oil production in 2015 will rise to 9.35 million barrels per day, slightly higher than the 9.3 million bpd forecast last month, the EIA said in its monthly short-term energy outlook.

The revision comes a day after the EIA released data showing that oil production from US shale fields will grow at its lowest pace in over four years starting in April, on the back of low prices and company spending cuts.

An EIA spokesman said the revision is due to an increase in baseline expectations for the fourth quarter and to production in the Gulf of Mexico. Offshore production in the Gulf is more resistant to price swings than onshore production as it requires longer-term investment.

Meanwhile, 2016 total oil production was expected to slip to 9.49 million bpd from 9.52 million bpd in last month's report, the EIA said.

Production drops in the two biggest shale formations - North Dakota's Bakken fields and the Eagle Ford in South Texas - will weigh on growth, the EIA said in its drilling productivity report.

Since June, a slump in global oil markets has slashed prices by more than half on oversupply and lackluster demand. Traders and analysts have tried to pinpoint whether point oil production will halt or slow substantially in assessing what might drive a rebound in prices.

Meanwhile, the EIA said that it expects crude oil storage, which is at 62 per cent capacity, the highest level since 1930, to continue growing over the next two months, EIA administrator Adam Sieminski said in a statement.

EIA also raised its estimate for US natural gas production in 2015 to 78.39 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd), up 3.71 bcfd, or 5 per cent, from 2014's record high. If correct, that would be the fifth annual record high in a row for gas production.

EIA said the production gain was largely due to improved drilling efficiencies and growth in oil production, despite falling rig counts, declining prices and reduced company investments, which were starting to slow oil production growth from shale plays.

In its Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO) report in February, EIA had forecast production in 2015 would rise 3.8 percent over 2014.

EIA said production increases from shale formations were more than offseting declining production from the Gulf of Mexico.

Most growth will come from the Marcellus Shale, where EIA said a backlog of drilled but uncompleted wells will continue to support production growth as new pipelines come online in the Northeast.

EIA forecast gas consumption in 2015 would rise 2.26 bcfd, or 3.1pc, from 2014's record high to 75.74 bcfd, the sixth annual record high in a row for consumption.




Tags: Energy | EIA | Forecast |

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