LONDON, Oct. 2 (UPI) -- Oil production gains from the United States won't displace Middle East producers from the market, chief energy leaders said in London.
The Energy Information Administration, the U.S. Energy Department's analytical arm, said U.S. oil production in August reached 7.6 million barrels per day, the highest monthly rate since 1989. That means U.S. imports of foreign crude oil are down as refiners start taking on more domestic supplies.
Abdalla el-Badri, secretary-general of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, said the increase in U.S. oil production didn't mean the cartel was "in trouble," the Platts energy news service quoted him as telling an oil conference Tuesday in London.
The International Energy Agency, based in Paris, said crude oil supplies from OPEC declined last month by 260,000 barrels per day to 30.5 million bpd in part because of supply disruptions from Libya. The EIA, meanwhile, said U.S. crude oil production should reach 8.4 million bpd by next year.
Fatih Birol, the IEA's chief economist, told London delegates U.S. oil wasn't taking over from legacy suppliers in the Middle East.
"I do not think it is a life-threatening development [for OPEC] what is happening in the United States," he said. "The Middle East is, and will remain, the heart of the global oil industry for many years."