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 per barrel at 0326 GMT, down 20 cents, or 0.3 percent, from their last close. US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil futures were at $56.84 per barrel, down 12 cents, or 0.2 percent, from their last settlement. US 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 US 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, US oil stocks are also rising. US 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 US output will rise further and that oil firms will export more oil to sell off surplus stocks. “We see total US crude production hitting 13 million bpd by year-end, with 2019 averaging 12.5 million bpd,” US bank Citi said following the release of the EIA report.
Published in Daily Times, February 23rd 2019.