Oil prices hit highest, climbs $69.10/barrel

US oil output to top record 11 million barrels per day by end of 2019: EIA

United States crude oil production is expected to surge to more than 11 million barrels a day (mb/d) by the end of next year (2019), according to the latest forecasts from the American government on Tuesday.

US crude inventories fell 4.9 million barrels last week, more than the 3.9-million decline forecast, but bigger-than-expected builds in gasoline and fuel stocks offset that drawdown, the Energy Information Administration reported.

There are several reasons why oil markets have tightened.

The price for Brent crude oil, the global benchmark, hit $70 per barrel for the first time since December 2014 partway through the trading day Thursday, but gave up almost all of the gains by the close. Platts last week expected a 5.7 barrel million draw, though federal data showed a decrease of 7.4 million barrels.

"Oil prices have been undeniably bullish this week despite the lingering concerns over the current bull rally running out of steam".

"Inventories ended 2017 9.3 percent above the five-year average, a stark contrast to the 35.6 percent surplus seen at the end of 2016", Oil Futures Editor Geoffrey Craig said in a statement emailed to UPI.

On the data front, the number of rigs operating in USA oil fields rose by 10 to 752 this week, the biggest increase since June, oilfield service firm Baker Hughes said in its weekly report on Friday.

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Investors have piled into commodities markets in the last month as the most bullish oil market structure in years is buttressed by OPEC-led production cuts, strong global economic growth and a softer USA dollar.

“EIA estimates that OPEC countries cut crude oil production output in 2017, but those cuts were offset by increased production in non-OPEC countries, especially the United States and Canada, ” EIA Acting Administrator John Conti said in a January 9 statement.

Most of the growth in USA output will come from the Permian basin, a huge shale region spanning western Texas and New Mexico. The EIA anticipates OPEC production to increase by 500,000 b/d in 2019 as it slowly returns to pre-agreement levels.

In the Bakken production is expected to average 1.2 million bpd this year and 1.3 million bpd in 2019, up from 1.1 million bpd in 2017. Of course it is still winter and the increase of demand is responsible for the increase of the prices.

On Tuesday, the EIA boosted output expectations, saying it now sees overall production at record highs, surpassing 11 million barrels per day (bpd) by 2019.

The national average price this summer should peak in August at $2.63. But Opec secretary general Mohammed Barkindo said there was "no panic" about rising prices.

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