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EIA forecasts US crude oil production to fall in 2020 and 2021

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World Pipelines,

The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) expects US crude oil production to fall in 2020 and 2021 as efforts to mitigate the spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continue to result in a steep drop in demand for petroleum products and crude oil prices. In its May Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO), EIA forecasts that US crude oil production will average 11.7 million bpd in 2020 and 10.9 million bpd in 2021. These levels would be 0.5 million bpd and 1.3 million bpd, respectively, lower than the 2019 average of 12.2 million bpd.

The benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil average spot price dropped from US$58/bbl in January 2020 to US$29/bbl in March and US$17/bbl in April. This sharp decline in the oil price is already having a significant effect on drilling activity in the US. The number of active drilling rigs in the Lower 48 states, excluding the Federal Offshore Gulf of Mexico (GoM), totalled 753 as of February, but it fell to 738 in March and 572 in April, the lowest since May 2016. As of 8 May 2020, the Lower 48 land rig count stood at 355 rigs, according to Baker Hughes data.

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO)

EIA’s short-term forecast for crude oil production is separated into three regions: the Lower 48 states excluding GoM (81% of 2019 crude oil production), the GpM (15%), and Alaska (4%). Most of the expected changes in US crude oil production arise in changes in Lower 48 states excluding GoM production because projects in the GoM and Alaska tend to have different development timelines and are less sensitive to near-term price changes.

Typically, crude oil price changes result in changes in Lower 48 US crude oil production after approximately six months. However, current market conditions will likely not follow this relationship as many producers have already announced significant reductions in capital spending and drilling levels, as well as plans to curtail production. Much of the recent changes in the WTI price will continue to affect production later this year and throughout 2021. EIA’s forecast 0.8 million bpd decline in US crude oil production in 2021 would be the largest annual decline in US crude oil production on record.

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO)

EIA forecasts GoM production to remain relatively flat, averaging 1.9 million bpd in 2020 and 2021, nearly unchanged from its 2019 average. In addition, EIA expects no cancellation in announced GoM projects for 2020 and 2021. EIA forecasts that crude oil production from Alaska will remain at an average of 460 000 bpd in 2020 and that it will increase slightly in 2021.

EIA’s crude oil production forecast is highly uncertain given the still-evolving impacts of the COVID-19 mitigation efforts and the resulting economic effects. In addition, members of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other partner countries announced significant production reductions through 2022 which, if realised, would affect oil prices and US producer investment decisions.

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US pipeline news Crude oil pipeline news EIA news