Oil production from the seven most prolific U.S. fields will expand at the slowest pace in nine months in February as drillers curb spending in response to the lowest crude prices in 5 1/2 years, a U.S. government forecast shows.
Output from the seven regions, which account for 95 percent of the nation’s oil production growth, will rise 103,000 barrels a day to 5.52 million, the smallest gain on a percentage basis since May, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its drilling productivity report today. The 1.9 percent projection compares with a 3.4 percent gain in the same month last year and a 4 percent increase in 2013.
U.S. oil production growth is slowing as plunging prices force the country’s crude explorers to scale back capital budgets and idle the most drilling rigs in more than two decades. Escalating competition from OPEC and the rest of the world’s suppliers threatens to halt the shale-drilling boom that propelled U.S. output to the highest level since at least 1983.
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