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US oil production on track to reach all time high in 2015

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Oilfield Technology,

Rystad Energy estimates US annual oil production (crude oil plus lease condensate) to peak at 9.7 million bbls per day by September 2015, assuming WTI stays at 55 USD/bbl on average for the year. The average production for 2015 estimated at 9.65 million bpd could be an all-time high after its peak in 1970 with 9.64 million bpd as yearly average.

“The monthly peak is estimated at 9.7 million bpd by September 2015, assuming horizontal oil rig count for Bakken, Eagle Ford and Permian will stabilise at 400 rigs, which is 43% below peak,” says Per Magnus Nysveen, Senior Partner and Head of Analysis at Rystad Energy. “Production could be even higher depending on assumptions like (1) lower drilling costs, thus more bbls per dollar spent, (2) narrowing price differentials in North Dakota, and (3) reduced backlog of completed wells.”

By accounting for 400 thousand bbl/d of plant condensates produced from natural gas processing plants, Rystad Energy estimates that US oil production reaches an absolute all-time high already during April 2015, and further growth could be expected throughout the year. For overall liquids production, including biofuels, NGL and processing gains, the all-time-high was already passed during 2013. In 2012 US total liquids production surpassed both Saudi Arabia and Russia.

Last week US domestic oil production reached 9.42 million bpd. Production in March was 0.124 million bpd higher than in February, and a staggering 1.2 million bpd higher than in March a year ago. The current growth rate for US oil production is thus the highest since October 2014, and on an increasing trend for the first three months of this year.

Growth is also supported by year-over-year additions of 0.17 million bpd from new deep water fields in the Gulf of Mexico, including Tubular Bells, Jack, St Malo, Mars, Cardamom Deep, Cascade and others.

The all-time-high to date for US oil production was achieved almost 50 years ago, when production reached 10.044 million bpd in November 1970. The lowest point was reached at 3.839 million bpd in late September 2008, just a few weeks after oil prices reached an all-time-high of US$145/bbl. At that point US oil production had not been so low since the Second World War. The outlook for US energy security and trade balance appeared dramatic. Driven by the shale oil revolution, the situation is now the exact opposite.

Adapted from a press release by David Bizley

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