22nd February, 2019
Oil prices fell on Friday after the United States reported its crude output hit a record 12 million barrels per day (bpd), undermining efforts by Middle East-dominated producer club OPEC to withhold supply and tighten global markets.
International Brent crude futures were at 66.87 dollars per barrel at 0326 GMT, down 20 cents, or 0.3 per cent, from their last close.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil futures were at 56.84 dollars per barrel, down 12 cents, or 0.2 per cent, from their last settlement.
U.S. crude oil production reached 12 million bpd for the first time last week, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said on Thursday in a weekly report.
That means U.S. crude output has soared by almost 2.5 million bpd since the start of 2018, and by a whopping 5 million bpd since 2013.
America is the only country to ever reach 12 million bpd of production.
As output surges, U.S. oil stocks are also rising.
U.S. commercial crude oil inventories rose by 3.7 million barrels to 454.5 million barrels in the week ended Feb. 15, the EIA said.
Analysts say U.S. output will rise further and that oil firms will export more oil to sell off surplus stocks.
“We see total U.S. crude production hitting 13 million bpd by year-end, with 2019 averaging 12.5 million bpd,” U.S. bank Citi said following the release of the EIA report.
Of that, the bank said, “we could be seeing some weeks with 4.6 million bpd of gross crude exports by end-year, adding to this week’s new record” of 3.6 million bpd.
Friday’s dips at least temporarily halted a rally that pushed crude prices this week to their highest for 2019 so far amid the supply cuts led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
OPEC and some non-affiliated producers such as Russia agreed late last year to cut output by 1.2 million bpd to prevent a large supply overhang from growing.
Another recent price driver has been U.S. sanctions against oil exporters Iran and Venezuela. (Reuters/NAN)