U.S. oil output will peak at a 43-year high in 2015 as producers work through a backlog of uncompleted wells before trailing off in the second half of the year.
Production will increase to 9.43 million barrels a day this year, the most since 1972, the Energy Information Administration said Tuesday in its monthly Short-Term Energy Outlook. That’s 240,000 barrels higher than last month’s estimate. Monthly output will fall in June through early 2016.
The U.S. is producing more oil this year even as the number of oil rigs slid to the least since August 2010 in response to last year’s price crash. Prices are still high enough to support drilling in key shale formations in North Dakota, Texas and other states.
“Production has increased as producers work through the backlog of uncompleted wells,” the EIA said in the report. “Projected 2015 oil prices remain high enough to support continued development drilling in the core areas of the Bakken, Eagle Ford, Niobrara, and Permian basins.”
The increase in this year’s production forecast reflects revisions to estimated output in the first quarter, the EIA said. Oil production in May reached 9.59 million barrels a day, also the highest level since 1972.
“U.S. oil production since mid-2014 has been more resilient to lower crude prices than many had expected,” EIA Administrator Adam Sieminski said in an e-mailed statement.
Published: September 6, 2015