ECONOMY

US says oil output to beat Saudi Arabia, Russia in 2019

The Department of Energy forecast Tuesday that oil output in the United States could top both Saudi Arabia and Russia by the end of 2019.

The forecast said U.S. production would average 10.8 million barrels per day in 2019 and would be more than 11 million barrels per day by November of next year. If the prediction is accurate, the U.S. would become the top oil producer in the world and beat both Saudi Arabia and Russia for the first time since 1975.

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) of the U.S. Department of Energy said U.S. production would average 10.3 million barrels per day this year, the highest output levels ever for the country. Russia produced an average of nearly 11 million barrels per day in 2017, while Saudi Arabia produced about 10 million barrels. Both countries, though, have agreed to slow production in order to push prices up.

Most of the production growth, the EIA noted, will be in the Permian Basin. This area, which runs between the states of Texas and New Mexico, is the largest oilfield in the U.S.

"Led by U.S. production, particularly in the Permian Basin, and new oil sands projects in Canada, non-OPEC production is forecast to continue growing through the end of 2019," EIA acting Administrator John Conti said in a statement. "We expect to see growth near 2.0 million barrels per day in 2018 and 1.3 million barrels per day in 2019."

In its report, the EIA predicted oil prices in the U.S. will average $54.01 a barrel in the first quarter of 2018, an increase from earlier predictions of $51.79. By the fourth quarter, the average price per barrel is predicted to hit $57.31, up from the EIA's last forecast of $54.95.

U.S. oil prices rallied amid the news Tuesday, rising $1.44 to $63.17 a barrel to U.S. crude's highest price since 2014.

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