By Barry Eitel
SAN FRANCISCO (AA) - The U.S. is poised to overtake Saudi Arabia and Russia as the largest oil producer in the world by 2019, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said Friday.
The highly anticipated monthly echoes other forecasts released this month, including one from the U.S. Energy Department.
“This year promises to be a record-setting one for the US,” the IEA suggested.
U.S. oil production hit 9.9 million barrels per day (bpd) by the end of 2017, on par with Saudi Arabia and just below Russia. American production is at its highest levels since the 1960s, the agency said.
Russia produced an average of nearly 11 million bpd in 2017, while Saudi Arabia produced about 10 million bpd. Both countries, however, have agreed to ease production to push up prices.
"Relentless growth should see the U.S. hit historic highs above 10 million bpd, overtaking Saudi Arabia and rivalling Russia during the course of 2018 – provided OPEC/non-OPEC restraints remain in place,” the IEA said.
Brent crude, considered the international benchmark, was at $68.72 in afternoon trading Friday, down from $70.37 Monday. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) was trading at $63.44 per barrel.
The IEA's report appeared to play a part in driving oil prices down after an extended upward trend due to its estimation the U.S. would upend the international oil market.
The U.S. has not produced more oil than Saudi Arabia and Russia since 1975. The IEA also expects production to surge in Canada and Brazil in 2018, offsetting lowered output from Venezuela and Mexico.
"Higher oil prices are bringing more supply to the market, particularly in North America and specifically tight oil,” the report said, referencing a form of light crude often called shale oil.