US oil output growth to slow in 2015

US oil output hits 19-year high08 January 2014, News Wires – The pace of US oil production growth will begin to slow in 2015, even as global demand continues to rise, allowing OPEC to pump more crude for the first time in three years, the US government said according to a report.

In its first projections for 2015, the US Energy Information Administration said US output will rise by 9% or 750,000 barrels per day next year to reach 9.3 million bpd, the highest in 43 years, Reuters reported.

That rate may seem heady but is less than the breakneck 1 million bpd growth seen last year and forecast for 2014, the result of the biggest oil boom in a generation as fracking and horizontal drilling technologies make millions of barrels in domestic onshore oil reserves more accessible.

US natural gas production was forecast to hit a fifth consecutive annual record high in 2015, while net imports of the fuel next year will drop to their lowest in nearly 30 years as output from shale fields grows, the news wire said.

In its January Short-Term Energy Outlook, the EIA said it expected marketed natural gas production in 2014 to rise 1.45 billion cubic feet per day, or 2.% from 2013’s estimated record-high levels, to 71.66 bcf per day, Reuters reported.

EIA also forecast production will increase again in 2015 to 72.58 bcf per day, up about 1.3% from its 2014 forecast.

The data arm of the US Department of Energy, like many other analysts, has consistently underestimated the scale of the US shale oil boom and these estimates may yet prove low, analysts said.

The agency forecast global benchmark Brent crude oil prices at an average $101.58 a barrel in 2015, down from $105.42 a barrel this year.

In the monthly report, EIA revised non-OPEC oil production for 2014 up 140,000 bpd from previous forecasts, to 56.1 million bpd.

The forecast for OPEC output was revised 150,000 bpd higher to 35.4 million bpd.

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