US oil imports are expected to hit their lowest levels in over 60 years as crude production in the United States continues to rise to record levels.  Statoil photo.

US oil imports forecast to drop to 1.5 million b/d in 2019

According to a report by Bloomberg, as US crude production hits record highs, the United States will reduce its reliance on foreign crude to the lowest level in over 60 years.

The US Energy Information Administration forecasts net US oil imports, including petroleum products to drop to 1.5 million b/d in 2019.  The EIA also boosted its forecasts for US oil production for this year and 2019.

Data from the EIA shows US crude production is at a record high and is expected to rise along side the climbing US oil rig count, and now sits at levels last seen in March 2015.

US crude prices topped $70/barrel this week following the Trump administration’s announcement that it will pull out of the Iran sanctions relief agreement.  As a result of Trump’s decision, oil prices are expected to rise as Iranian crude exports will likely be curtailed.

In the EIA’s Short-Term Energy Outlook, the agency predicts US production will hit 11. 86 million b/d, up from a prior forecast of 11.44 million b/d.  Domestic output is pegged to average 10.72 million b/d in 2018, surpassing the prior record high hit in 1970 of 9.6 million b/d.

The EIA predicts that by October 2018, US crude production will top 11 million b/d.

Rising predictions for US crude production come at a time when the EIA decreased its forecasts for both global production and demand for 2018.  Overall global output is forecast to be 100.45 million b/d, down from 100.47 million b/d previously forecast.

Demand is expected to grow to 100.28 million b/d, down from 100.31 million b/d.

Finally, the EIA upped its price forecasts for benchmark Brent and US West Texas Intermediate crude for 2018 and 2019.  So far this year, WTI futures have jumped by 14 per cent.