By Selam Gebrekidan
NEW YORK Jan 7 The pace of U.S. 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, U.S. government forecasts showed on
In its first projections for 2015, the U.S. Energy
Information Administration said U.S. output will rise by 9
percent or 750,000 barrels per day next year to reach 9.3
million bpd, the highest in 43 years.
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 on-shore oil reserves more accessible.
The data arm of the U.S. Department of Energy, like many
other analysts, has consistently underestimated the scale of the
U.S. shale oil boom and these estimates may yet prove low,
"I think the EIA recognizes that they have been too
conservative and is marking to market now," said Katherine
Spector, with Canadian bank CIBC in New York.
Spector noted Tuesday's forecasts follow revisions in the
Annual Energy Outlook that boosted estimates for output through
2019, some 22 percent higher than previous forecasts.
The EIA's latest report also suggests the administration is
taking a slightly brighter outlook on supplies from the
Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, which is
struggling to come to grips with the shale revolution.
World oil demand will rise 1.5 percent to 92.96 million bpd
next year, a record high and the fastest growth rate since 2010,
the agency said. It also raised its forecast for this year's
demand growth by 60,000 bpd.
That will allow OPEC to boost supply by 0.4 percent to 35.6
million bpd next year after it fell 1 percent this year, the EIA
said. But that extra oil comes at a cost - lower prices.
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.
"EIA expects the downward trend in Brent crude oil prices to
continue over the next two years as growing non-OPEC oil supply
continues to outpace world consumption," administrator Adam
Sieminski said in a statement.
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.