U.S. crude oil output growth was expected to slow slightly for this year compared with previous forecasts, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said Dec. 11, but at a record 10.88 million barrels per day (bbl/d), the nation will end 2018 as the world's top producer.
Output this year was forecast to rise by 1.53 million bbl/d to 10.88 million bbl/d, down from the EIA's previous estimate of an increase of 1.55 million bbl/d. The current all-time U.S. annual output peak was in 1970 at 9.6 million bbl/d, according to federal energy data.
For 2019, U.S. crude oil production was expected to average 12.06 million bbl/d, the EIA said, up 1.18 million bbl/d from the prior year which is a small upward revision from the previous forecast of a 1.16-million bbl/d rise.
A shale revolution has helped the U.S. produce a record amount of oil this year and topple Russia and Saudi Arabia as the world's biggest producer.
"The United States will conclude 2018 as the world’s largest producer of crude oil," said EIA Administrator Dr. Linda Capuano.
"EIA's December short-term outlook largely attributes the recent decline in Brent crude oil spot prices, which averaged $65 per barrel in November, to record production among the world's largest crude oil producers and concerns about weaker global oil demand."
Oil prices have crashed more than 30% from their near four-year highs in early October as worries about a glut gripped the market.
In 2019, oil demand is estimated to rise by 330,000 bbl/d to 20.81 million bbl/d, up from its previous estimate of a rise of 220,000 bbl/d.
For 2018, U.S. oil demand is expected to rise by 520,000 bbl/d to 20.48 million bbl/d, EIA said, slightly raising its previous forecast of a 510,000 bbl/d rise to 20.47 million bbl/d.
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