On February 27th, the U.S. government agency The Energy Information Administration (EIA) announced provisional U.S. crude oil production figures for December 2013. Key points:
- December crude oil production was 243.8 million barrels, equivalent to 7.9 million barrels per day (bpd)
- Change over December 2012 on a barrel-per-day basis: +11.1% y/y
- December total crude oil plus natural gas liquids reached 324.8 million barrels, equivalent to 10.5 million bpd
The last three months have seen a sharp drop in production growth rates from the high teens to just over 10%. It is too early to tell if this is just a temporary blip or something more permanent.
As can be seen from the chart below (click for larger image, link to original data here), the fracking of tight oil formations in the U.S. has made a major impact on U.S. crude production over the last few years.
Given crude oil is a globally traded commodity, U.S. production numbers need to be placed in the context of world supply and demand. The International Energy Agency (IEA), in its latest Oil Market Report (OMR) dated 13 February 2014, recorded global ‘all liquids’ (oil and condensate) production of 92.1 million bpd for January 2014. Year-on-year supply growth is averaging around 1 million bpd, or a little over 1%.
In this month’s OMR, the IEA emphasises that exuberant expectations with respect to the impact of U.S. production on world supply and demand have been disappointed. Outages in Libya, disappointing production in Iraq and higher-than-expected OECD demand have more than offset increased U.S. output (click for larger image).
As a result, benchmark crude prices continue along an elevated plateau.
Full quarterly IEA world supply-and-demand figures, including 2013 provisional supply and demand numbers, together with 2014 forecasts, can be found here.