The Strategist

U.S. shale oil production is predicted to grow during 20 years

02/12/2018 - 13:26

The volume of oil production in the US in January increased by 100 thousand barrels per day compared with December - up to 10.2 million barrels per day (bpd), according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA). The average production in 2017 was 9.3 million bpd. Now the agency forecasts a significant increase in supply: up to 10.6 million bpd in this year and up to 11.2 million bpd in 2019. Both indicators have been improved by 3.1% compared to the previous forecast. The previous record of production in the US - 9.6 million bpd - was marked in 1970. Oil prices are now declining on the expectations of growth in the US production.

L.C. Nøttaasen via flickr
L.C. Nøttaasen via flickr
The Administration assumes that the average price for oil this year will grow to $ 62 per barrel against $ 54 per barrel in 2017. So far, the growth in demand against the background of a sharp cooling has led to a 6 million barrels reduction in oil reserves in January, while there was an increase of 14 million barrels on average over five years at that time. However, the EIA believes that as the supply increases, so do stocks - from 1.228 million barrels in 2017 to 1.255 million barrels at the end of 2018 and 1.313 million barrels by December 2019.

In the long-term forecast, the EIA predicts a longer production growth than OPEC expects (based on the exhaustion of the "shale revolution" after 2020). According to the EIA forecast, the increase in oil supplies in the baseline scenario will continue until around 2040. It is assumed that production will be balanced at the level of 11-12 million bpd. At the same time, the reduction in domestic demand, supported by increased energy efficiency and the use of alternative energy sources, will allow the country to become a net oil exporter after 2022 (for the first time since 1953). However, this situation can only last until 2045.

The base scenario provides for a noticeable increase in prices: the cost of Brent crude oil will increase to $ 114 per barrel by 2050. However, the Administration notes that, although world oil prices have an impact on production, resource availability and technological changes are more important factors. At that, forecasts for shale mining are characterized by a high degree of uncertainty due to insufficient knowledge of large areas and rapid changes in drilling practices, the agency concludes.