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EIA cuts forecast for 2019 U.S. crude production growth

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NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. crude oil production in 2019 is expected to grow at a slower rate than previously forecast, according to a monthly U.S. government forecast on Tuesday.

U.S. crude production is expected to rise by 840,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 11.5 million bpd next year, lower than a previous expectation for it to rise 1.02 million bpd to 11.7 million, according to a report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Oil demand growth in 2019 is expected to rise by 250,000 bpd, a decrease from EIA’s previous projection for an increase of 290,000 bpd.

The agency largely left 2018 production and demand growth forecasts unchanged.

A shale boom has helped send U.S. production surging above 10 million bpd this year for the first time since the 1970s. But drilling activity in the Permian basin, the largest U.S. oil patch, has begun showing signs of a slowdown due to limited pipeline takeaway capacity.

U.S. crude oil production in 2018 is expected to grow 1.31 million barrels per day (bpd) to 10.66 million bpd, little changed from EIA’s previous forecast. Demand in 2018 is likely to grow by 470,000 bpd, also unchanged.

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“EIA’s September outlook revised expectations for Brent spot prices upward to an average of $73 per barrel for 2018,” EIA Administrator Linda Capuano said.

“The change was largely due to lower expectations for Canada’s crude oil production and OPEC’s condensate production,” she said.

Saudi Arabia wants oil to stay between $70 and $80 a barrel for now as the world’s biggest crude exporter strikes a balance between maximizing revenue and keeping a lid on prices until U.S. congressional elections in November, OPEC and industry sources have told Reuters.

EIA forecasts Brent spot prices to average $74 per barrel in 2019.

Oil prices rose more than 2 percent on Tuesday, with Brent crude futures up $1.48 to $78.85 a barrel by 12:36 p.m. EDT (1636 GMT). U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude gained $1.74 to trade at $69.28 a barrel.

Reporting by Devika Krishna Kumar in New York; Editing by Marguerita Choy and Paul Simao

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