The call on OPEC crude oil production for the coming years could be set for another sharp downward revision. The US government’s Energy Information Administration (EIA), in the 16 December ‘Early Release’ of its 2014 Annual Energy Outlook (AEO), predicts US crude output will hit 9.54mn b/d by 2016, within touching distance of the country’s 1970 record high. This represents a massive 2mn b/d hike on the forecast the EIA made only a year earlier.

The EIA estimates that US crude output will continue to edge higher, peaking at 9.61mn b/d in 2019 (just shy of the 9.64mn b/d 1970 record), before beginning a steady decline. However, even as far out as 2030, the latest forecasts have US crude production (at 8.3mn b/d) 2mn b/d higher than the 2013 forecast, although by 2040 the gap has narrowed to 1.35mn b/d (see graph 1). Between 2012 and 2040 the US will cumulatively produce 19bn barrels more crude than the figures predicted last year (90bn barrels rather than 71bn). (CONTINUED - 840 WORDS)