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API: US crude production, inventories broke October record

Nick Snow
OGJ Washington Editor

WASHINGTON, DC, Nov. 19 -- US crude oil production averaged 5.5 million b/d in October, the highest average for the month since October 2003, and 0.1% higher year-to-year, the American Petroleum Institute said in its latest monthly statistical report. Crude inventories increased for a fourth consecutive month to 366 million bbl as of Oct. 31, also a record for the month, it indicated on Nov. 19.

Production in the Lower 48 states averaged 4.86 million b/d, roughly comparable to previous months and 0.2% above October 2009’s average, according to API. Alaskan crude production, which averaged 654,000 b/d last month, was higher following the summer maintenance season but 0.6% lower year-to-year, it added.

“The growth has been particularly strong in the Bakken shale area of Montana and North Dakota—to the point that North Dakota has become the nation’s fourth largest crude oil producer,” API Chief Economist John C. Felmy told OGJ. “We’re also starting to see development in the Eagle Ford area, but the real growth has been in North Dakota.”

Baker Hughes Corp. reported on Nov. 5 that October’s monthly US rig count of 1,668 was 13 more than September’s 1,655 and 624 than October 2009’s average of 1,044. Its figures include rigs drilling for gas and oil.

The US Energy Information Administration forecast on Nov. 9 in its short-term energy outlook that US oil production will climb 140,000 b/d this year to an average 5.5 million b/d. This would follow a 410,000 b/d increase in 2009 and precede a 40,000 b/d decline in 2011 to an average 5.46 million b/d, it indicated.

EIA said its latest monthly forecast included decreases during 2011 of an average 160,000 b/d from US Gulf of Mexico leases and 50,000 b/d in Alaska, and a 170,000 b/d increase in domestic production outside those two areas.

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