OIL BOOM:

More production milestones for U.S. crude -- EIA

HOUSTON -- The United States hit another high water mark in hydrocarbons production in August and is slated to achieve another milestone soon, a global energy market monitor reported this week.

In its latest "Short-Term Energy Outlook," the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports that crude oil production from the United States, benefiting from high oil prices and the rapid spread of hydraulic fracturing technologies, reached a record level last month. Crude oil output grew to an average rate of 7.6 million barrels a day in August, the Department of Energy division said.

That figure is the highest volume of daily oil output the United States has seen since 1989, EIA reported. The agency predicts that daily crude oil production will average out to 7.5 million barrels a day for all of 2013 as the oil and gas industry enters its final quarter and the winter months.

EIA revised its earlier estimate of total 2013 crude oil production by about 100,000 barrels per day.

But analysts there are predicting further growth in oil production. By the end of 2014, the industry in the United States should be pumping nearly 1 million more barrels per day than it did this year, with daily production predicted to average around 8.4 million barrels per day.

That newer figure is also an upward revision to an earlier EIA prediction, when analysts saw daily oil output hitting closer to 8.2 million barrels per day by the end of 2014.

Overseas, the International Energy Agency (IEA) made some bold predictions regarding U.S. oil and liquids production of its own (see related story).

The Paris-based IEA believes the United States is poised to overtake Russia in volumes of liquid fuels produced per day.

The boost to U.S. production came at an opportune time. Both agencies reported steeper-than-expected hits to global oil production, even as IEA now believes global oil and liquid fuels demand is increasing faster than it initially expected.

EIA said that in August the world experienced the highest crude oil supply disruptions since January 2011, losing some 2.7 million barrels a day in output, mainly from unplanned outages in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.

Much of the supply disruption came from Libya. EIA reported that output from that North African nation slid from around 1 million barrels a day in July to 600,000 barrels a day in August. The agency is warning that output from Libya could decline further this month to as low as 200,000 barrels a day. Political unrest is to blame for the sharp drop, EIA said.

"During July and August 2013, protests at major oil loading ports in the central-eastern region of Libya forced the complete or partial shut-in of oil fields linked to the ports," the agency explained in an overview.

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