OPEC admits US will step in to pump more oil this year as cartel maintains production cuts
The Saudi-dominated OPEC cartel of oil producing nations admitted yesterday that the USA will step in to pump more crude this year as the organisation’s self-imposed production cuts take effect.
The aim of the OPEC cuts is to drive up wholesale crude oil prices by limiting supply.
But the practical net effect is that existing US shale producers will simply turn on the taps to fill the gap.
Following its latest weekend meeting in Vienna, OPEC said: “The steady oil price recovery since summer 2017 and renewed interest in growth opportunities have led to oil majors catching up in terms of exploration activity this year, both in the shale industry and offshore deep water.
“The market is only expected to return to balance towards the end of this year.”
In its monthly oil market report, OPEC revised upward its projection of 2018 non-OPEC production to 59.26 million b/d, an increase of 1.40 million b/d from 2017 and up 320,000 b/d from last month’s forecast.
Since its November report, OPEC has raised its non-OPEC output forecast by 720,000 b/d.
OPEC said world oil demand would rise by 1.59 million barrels per day (bpd) this year – an increase of 60,000 bpd from the previous forecast.
Crude oil prices bobbled around the $64-barrel mark yesterday on the OPEC statement,
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