Crude oil output rises, but analysts cautious in low price environment

Crude oil output rose to almost 9.57 million, up 304,000 barrels per day for the week of May 22 from the previous week.

Crude oil output rose to almost 9.57 million, up 304,000 barrels per day for the week of May 22 from the previous week, according to the Energy Information Administration. The Weekly Petroleum Status Report found the gain in production volume was the result of revisions that included data from states, such as Texas and Alaska, which indicated output was higher than initially reported.

Alaska's production grew after accounting for deliveries to the Trans-Alaskan Pipeline System. After the pipeline system was down because of maintenance, output bounced back after decreasing 112,000 bpd to increase an estimated 95,000 bpd.

Production data from January to March were revised higher than earlier reports. The first two months of 2015 had the same amount of output at about 9.4 million bpd each.

Effects of a low price environment
Although the oil and gas industry may have interpreted the latest EIA report as a huge improvement in energy production, analysts are careful not to call the sector's performance a major rebound, The Wall Street Journal reported.

"Threshold oil prices required to drive production growth are considerably lower than what people thought," said Bill Herbert, Simmons & Co. International managing director.

Herbert said since shale-oil production has existed for five years, it is unknown how it will perform in a low-price environment. He said that the industry will likely know how it reacts in the next three to six quarters.

Meanwhile, renewables are increasingly added to the energy mix in the U.S. The EIA revealed renewable energy represented almost 10 percent of all domestic energy consumption last year. Between 2001 and 2014, the renewables sector expanded an annual average of 5 percent with the rise in popularity of wind, solar and biofuels.

With renewables on its heels, the oil and gas industry is still optimistic about growing production. Citigroup said in a note that production may climb despite low rig counts, though it did want to be cautious about interpreting the EIA's results, according to Reuters.

Some oil and gas firms said their operations have increased in efficiency, which is in turn leading to decreases in expenses, the Journal reported. Others are waiting for oil prices to pick up again before they decide to ramp production. The Journal said that some producers are waiting until prices rise to between $60 to $65 per barrel to boost output.

More information on the oil and gas pipelines outlook in the Americas can be found on PennEnergy's research area.

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