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IEA: US to dominate the oil industry

06 March 2018

Headlines are once again touting the enormous potential of US shale crude oil.

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Oil ministers from oil cartel Opec and other global oil players are set to gather in Houston as CERAWeek, the largest energy industry conference, begins on Monday.

"OPEC and Non-OPEC alliance remain at record high compliance, but with Russian Federation continually pressuring for an exit strategy, OPEC will look to offer an olive branch to USA shale", said Stephen Innes, head of trading for the Asia-Pacific region at futures brokerage OANDA in Singapore.

Oil prices edged higher towards $65 a barrel on Monday but predictions of a major spike in U.S. oil output in the next five years capped the market's gains.

Established oil producers like OPEC need to reconsider future production plans, given the huge growth that is projected from USA shale in the coming years, the International Energy Agency warned Monday.

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Choked pipelines mean the Canadian heavy oil benchmark Western Canada Select is now trading at a $31 per barrel discount against the West Texas Intermediate crude oil benchmark, compared to $12 at the same time previous year.

Rising U.S. output has weighed on oil prices in recent months amid fears it could dampen global efforts to rid the market of excess supplies.

US oil majors, however, cannot engage in supply restrictions to affect the price as the OPEC cartel does, and some ministers on Monday played down the idea that the growth of shale could not be handled.

OPEC and nonmembers like Russian Federation plan to wind down their agreement to curb production by 1.8 million barrels a day.

As the market tightens, OPEC's influence will expand and its market share will rise. This is because growth from shale fields more than counters declines in conventional supplies.

Despite delays to new export pipelines, the IEA expects Canadian oil production to rise by 16 per cent, or 790,000 bpd, to 5.6 million bpd by 2023, largely as a result of major projects that were sanctioned before the oil price downturn of 2014.

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“Despite talk of capital discipline and increased focus on returns rather than growth, US producers regrouped quickly when oil prices stabilized and began to rise, ” the IEA said.

Natural gas liquids will add another 1 million barrels per day to reach 4.7 million barrels per day by 2023.

Last year, the IEA forecast US shale production to grow by 1.4 million bpd by 2022 with oil prices of up to $60 a barrel and by up to 3 million barrels with oil at $80 a barrel.

The United States is poised to overtake Russian Federation as the world's largest oil-producer within the next five years; drastically increasing production and opening new areas for energy development under President Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress.

The lack of export space has helped contribute to the sell-off of oilsands assets from Shell, ConocoPhillips and Marathon Oil and the lack of new development approvals, said the IEA.

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