Oil Prices Soften as US Production Eclipses 10 Million BPD

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Much of U.S. production from shale formation has been in light or ultralight sweet crudes, while the vast majority of OPEC's production cuts have come from heavier, sourer grades.

The Energy Department said Thursday that average crude production reached 10.038 million barrels a day in November, just below the record of 10.044 million barrels a day set in November 1970. This 10 million number is a big deal, as it puts the United States on par with the production of Oil giant Saudi Arabia and is eclipsed only by that of Russian Federation, who put in an average of 10.98 million barrels per day previous year.

The lowest daily production total from November 1970 to November 2017 was 3,971 barrels per day in September 2008.

In November, the U.S. So expect the U.S.to remain a very big thorn in the sides of Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation for quite some time. As recently as 2011, the nation only produced about 5.5 million barrels a day.

Rising American production has, luckily, not displaced Canadian oil exports to US - for now. Oil and Gas Journal economist Conglin Xu said that will see the US overtake Saudi Arabia and possibly Russian Federation. "That's a huge jump, and we expect USA exports, including both crude exports and product exports, will continue to grow double digits this year", Xu said.

Oil prices rose yesterday after a survey showed OPEC's commitment to its supply cuts remains in place.

The cartel's efforts have helped boost crude prices by more than 50% since mid-2017.

Brent for April delivery traded up 52 cents at Dollars 69.41 a barrel at 11:45 a.m.in London after earlier rising to USD 69.67.

Thursday's price jump followed by a bullish forecast by Goldman Sachs. Yet, the bank said its view was cyclical and sees Brent dropping down to US$60 a barrel by 2020.

With the oil market much more precariously balanced than it was just six months ago, geopolitical events and supply outages are having a much more profound impact on the oil market.

WTI light sweet crude oil was up 92 cents at USD65.62 a barrel, near its recent 4-year highs.

"There's no doubt shale players will respond to higher prices", says Jan Edelmann, commodity analyst at HSH Nordbank AG.

Inventories are reported with a two-month lag, so by the time they have reached the five-year average, OPEC may be late to react.

The U.S. oil and natural gas industry has accomplished a complete reversal, which enhances the U.S. economy and national energy security as it competes with other markets worldwide.

ExxonMobil will report on Friday but the company has announced it plans to invest heavily in the Permian Basin in West Texas and increase production by 600,000 of oil equivalent by 2025. As a result of the work week ended on January 26, the number of drilling rigs increased by 11 units, or by 1.17 percent, to 947 units.