US oil output to average 10.27 million b/d in 2018, 10.85 million b/d in 2019: EIA

Washington (Platts)--9 Jan 2018 443 pm EST/2143 GMT

US oil production will average a record-setting 10.85 million b/d in 2019, an increase of 1.55 million b/d compared with 2017, despite expectations of increases of just $6.64/b and $7.28/b in WTI and Brent prices over that time period, the US Energy Information Administration said Tuesday.

Related analysis: Venezuela's oil production plummets amid chaos and industry defections

In its Short-Term Energy Outlook Tuesday, the agency unveiled its first forecasts for 2019, calling for modest increases in prices and liquid fuels consumption and continued historic US crude output levels.

EIA forecasts crude production will average 10.27 million b/d this year, up nearly 1 million b/d compared with 2017 and the highest output forecast the agency has made to date.

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"If achieved, forecast 2018 production would be the highest annual average on record, surpassing the previous record of 9.6 million b/d set in 1970," EIA said in the report.

Crude production is expected to average 10.85 million b/d in 2019 and will climb throughout the year, averaging a high of 11.16 million b/d by December of next year, the agency said.

"Increased production from tight rock formations within the Permian region in Texas and New Mexico accounts for 0.8 million b/d of the expected 1.2 million b/d of crude oil production growth from December 2017 to December 2019," it said.

"EIA expects most of the remaining 0.3 million b/d of growth to come from the Federal Gulf of Mexico, as seven new projects are expected to come online by the end of 2019."

WTI prices are expected to average $55.33/b in 2018 and $57.43/b in 2019, up from $50.79/b in 2017. Brent prices are forecast to average $59.74/b in 2018 and $61.43/b in 2019, up from $54.15/b in 2017.

OPEC oil output is expected to average 32.68 million b/d this year, up 330,000 b/d from 2017, and then climb to 32.95 million b/d in 2019, EIA said.

Saudi Arabian output averaged 10.06 million b/d in December, down from 10.11 million b/d in November, while production in Venezuela averaged 1.81 million b/d in December, down from 1.85 million b/d in November and from 2.05 million b/d in December 2016, it said.

Libyan oil production averaged 970,000 b/d in December, down 20,000 b/d from November, but up 300,000 b/d from December 2016.

--Brian Scheid,
--Edited by Keiron Greenhalgh,

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