NEW YORK, Feb 6 (Reuters) – U.S. oil production is expected to surpass 11 million barrels per day in late 2018, a year earlier than projected last month, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said on Tuesday.
Domestic crude oil production in 2018 is also expected to rise by more than previously projected, the agency said in its monthly short-term energy outlook.
U.S. production has risen steadily in recent months and is expected to average 10.24 million bpd during the first quarter of this year.
Production is expected to average 11.04 million bpd in the fourth quarter of this year. The EIA had previously expected production to reach 11.04 million bpd in the fourth quarter of 2019.
In November, oil production surpassed 10 million bpd for the first time since 1970, and neared the all-time output record.
The agency forecast U.S. crude oil output will rise by 1.26 million bpd to 10.59 million bpd in 2018. Last month, it forecast a 970,000 bpd year-over-year increase to 10.27 million bpd.
The United States has been a net energy importer since 1953, but in its in annual energy outlook released on Tuesday, the EIA projects the U.S. will become a net energy exporter as early as 2022.
U.S. crude exports have surged since the lifting of a decades-old ban in late 2015, helping support prices despite the rise in production.
However, oil prices fell for a third day on Tuesday with a recent wave of selling in equities, cryptocurrencies and commodities amid pressure from a rising dollar, although the crude market is still in positive territory so far this year.
The EIA also forecast U.S. oil demand for 2018 will grow by 450,000 bpd, lower than its previous forecast of 470,000 bpd growth.
For 2019, it slightly raised its production growth forecast to an increase of 590,000 bpd to 11.18 million bpd. Last month, it expected a 580,000-bpd increase to 10.85 million bpd.
For next year, oil demand is expected to rise by 350,000 bpd versus 340,000 bpd previously.