Crisis-stricken Venezuela's oil output plummeted to decades low in 2017

Higher oil prices are allowing US shale producers to hedge and lock in drilling programmes

Higher oil prices are allowing US shale producers to hedge and lock in drilling programmes

"This year promises to be a record-setting one for the USA", the IEA said in its closely-watched report published Friday.

In a monthly report on Thursday, the Opec said outside producers would boost supply by 1.15mbpd this year, up from 990,000bpd expected previously.

This year, U.S. crude oil production is seen averaging 10.3 million bpd in 2018, beating a record dating back to 1970.

Oil inventories have plunged in the past two months, helping drive oil prices higher.

In December, Venezuela's output dropped to 1.61m bpd, near a 30-year low.

"The US remains the key driver of non-Opec supply growth", as shale producers in the US ramp up production, Opec said.

"Major macroeconomic indicators all beat market expectations, pointing to economic stabilization", Ning Jizhe, the head of the NBS, was quoted by the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

OPEC ministers and their allies, including Russian Federation, meet at the weekend in Oman to discuss the output curbs that were extended in November to last the rest of this year.

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There are signs of the United States shale boom slowing down, but OPEC's forecast for USA output growth this year was revised up by 110,000 barrels per day to 820,000 bpd.

OPEC lowered its forecast for demand for its own crude this year to 33.09 million barrels a day from 33.15 million a day.

Those consumer companies, whose input prices, specifically for oil and oil derivatives, are market-linked, may see their margins being hurt, starting June quarter of this year, Jain said. "We see that the market surplus is decreasing, but the market is not completely balanced yet and, of course, we need to continue monitoring the situation, " said the minister.

Crude oil prices hit a fresh three-year high and rose past the psychologically important $70-a-barrel mark on Tuesday.

"The big 2018 supply story is unfolding fast in the Americas", the IEA said.

The group predicts stronger growth in demand and a weaker recovery in rival supplies than the IEA, implying a steady drop in inventories through the year. Refiners dialed back operations, and domestic production leapt higher by a lot to 9.75 million barrels per day. The WSJ points out that it was probably the worst loss of oil production in a single year in recent history - Russia's production fell by 23 percent after the collapse of the Soviet Union and Iraq lost roughly the same percentage after the US invasion in 2003.

Net U.S. crude imports rose last week by 58,000 bpd. When called by the OPEC MOMR, it said its production was down a whopping 216,000 bpd to 1,621,000 barrels per day.

OPEC said US shale producers lowered breakeven costs between 2015 and 2017 but now service companies are raising rig and labor costs so breakeven prices are rising.

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