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Lower 48 oil production steady

Total U.S. oil production up 14 percent year-on-year, data show.

By Daniel J. Graeber

WASHINGTON, Jan. 23 (UPI) -- U.S. oil production for the week ending Jan. 16 declined by six tenths of one percent, though none of that decline came from the Lower 48, data show.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its weekly petroleum status report total U.S. oil production for the week ending Jan. 16 was 9.18 million barrels per day, a decline of only 6,000 bpd. Alaska accounted for all of the decline from the week ending Jan. 9. Production from the Lower 48 was unchanged from the previous week.

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Total U.S. oil production is up 14 percent year-on-year. Net imports, including oil sent to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, declined by half a percent on a weekly basis. Imports from Mexico declined the most of any oil trading partner, while imports from Venezuela increased the most in terms of percent.

U.S. oil production gains are skewing markets toward the supply side, suppressing global crude oil prices to the point that producing nations and leading energy companies are feeling the economic impact.

Some companies operating in the U.S. shale basins behind the boom are trimming capital spending plans, which could lead to declines in production. EIA said, however, it estimated full-year 2015 production average to reach 9.3 million bpd and 9.5 million bpd by 2016, which would be the second highest level in U.S. history if forecasts are accurate.

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Analysis this week from consultant group Wood Mackenzie finds operators in high-cost U.S. shale basins may be forced to cut back on their well activity should oil prices stay below the $50 per barrel threshold.

"We forecast that lower prices will result in a 26 percent drop in U.S. onshore well count, with the number falling from over 37,000 in 2014 to an estimated 27,000 in 2015," the group said.

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