HOUSTON (ICIS)--US crude production averaged 10.4m bbl/day in March, an increase of 260,000 bbl/day from February output levels, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Tuesday.
The US will produce an average 10.7m bbl/day of crude in 2018, according to EIA projections. This would exceed the historical record of 9.6m bbl/day set in 1970. In 2017, the US produced an average of 9.3m bbl/day.
Looking ahead to 2019, the EIA raised its crude output estimates to 11.4m bbl/day, up from the 11.3m bbl/day it had predicted in March.
Brent spot prices are expected to avearge $63/bbl in 2018 and 2019 while WTI spot prices should average $59/bbl, the EIA said.
Meanwhile, the EIA also projects a record year for dry natural gas production at an average of 81.1 billion cubic feet/day (bcf/day) in 2018, up from an average of 73.6 bcf/day in 2017. In 2019, the EIA expects average gas production to climb another 1.7 bcf/day from 2018 levels.
Growing production will meet an increasing appetite for natural gas both domestically and for exports. The EIA expects US natural gas consumption to grow by 5.7% in 2018 and by 0.9% in 2019, driven by electric power generation.
The US has transitioned to become a net natural gas exporter, and gas exports are expected to rise nearly sixfold from 2017 to 2018 to an average of 2.2 bcf/day. The 2018 average is expected to double in 2019.
Henry Hub natural gas spot prices are anticipated to average $2.99/MMBtu in 2018 and $3.07/MMBtu in 2019.