U.S. Oil Boom Seen Further Eroding OPEC Market Share

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Billionth Barrel Bakken
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By Dmitry Zhdannikov and Christopher Johnson

LONDON -- Global oil demand growth will accelerate next year as the world economy expands and will again be met by rising supplies from the United States and Canada, further eroding OPEC's market share, the West's energy watchdog said Friday.

But the International Energy Agency said in its monthly report that risks to oil production in several regions remained acute.

"Supply risks in the Middle East and North Africa, not least in Iraq and Libya, remain extraordinarily high," the IEA said. "Oil prices remain historically high and there is no sign of a turning of the tide just yet."

"Whether in crude or product markets, there is little room for complacency," it added.

North Sea Brent crude oil hit a nine-month high above $115 a barrel in June as a Sunni Islamist insurgency swept across northwestern Iraq, taking control of large parts of the oil producing country and shutting down its largest refinery.

The oil market has weakened over the last month but remains nervous about further supply shocks. Brent was trading at around $108.20 a barrel by 0730 GMT on Friday.

Making its first forecasts for 2015 in a monthly report, the IEA which advises major consuming nations on energy policy, said it expected global oil demand to grow by 1.4 million barrels per day, or bpd, next year, up from 1.2 million this year.

"Newly industrialized and emerging market economies are once again forecast to lead the gains," it said.

The world's second largest oil consumer, China, will see oil demand growing by 4.2 percent, up from 3.3 percent this year, while the largest oil user, the United States, will only see gains of 0.2 percent to 19.1 million barrels per day, up from a growth of 0.6 percent this year.

North America Leads Supply Gains

The IEA said it expected non-OPEC supply growth to average 1.2 million bpd next year, in line with increases in 2013 and 2014.

"The U.S. and Canada remain the mainstays for growth, but sources are expected to be more diverse than in 2014," said the IEA, naming Brazil, Britain, Vietnam, Malaysia, Norway and Columbia among countries which will grow output in 2015.

North America will remain the leader in 2015, contributing about twothirds of the net non-OPEC supply increase compared to 85 percent in 2014.

U.S. light tight oil, mostly from North Dakota and Texas, as well as Canadian bitumen, represent well over half of 2014 non-OPEC supply growth, the IEA said.

It added that the Eagle Ford Shale Play in south Texas will remain one of the most dynamic oil provinces with output growing by 34 percent to 1.4 million bpd this year and exceeding 1.6 million next year.

"Certain OPEC countries have experienced severe disruptions, so North America has made the difference in terms of avoiding severely constrained global supply," the IEA said.

Iraqi Bloodshed

The U.S. shale oil boom has eroded the market share of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and the trend will likely continue next year, it said.

The IEA forecast demand for OPEC crude would edge down in 2015 to 29.8 million bpd, from 29.9 million this year. That is slightly below the level pumped by the group in June at just over 30 million bpd.

Insurgency in Iraq remains among the main threats to OPEC's production targets with output down by 260,000 bpd in June alone to 3.17 million bpd after an assault by radical Islamist militants forced the closure of the Iraq's biggest refinery at Baiji and cut production from the giant Kirkuk field.

"A monthlong military campaign by radical militants has shaken Iraq's foundation and threatened oil operations in the north of the country, but the prized oil fields in the south are so far insulated from the fighting," the IEA said.

It added that exports from Iraq's giant southern fields were down in June mostly due to logistical snags and maintenance works at the Gulf Basra terminal.

"Prolonged sectarian bloodshed may shake investor confidence and set back longerterm growth in the country that had been poised to provide the biggest source of new OPEC capacity over the next decade," the IEA said.

Iran also saw a steep decline in exports in June to 1.08 million bpd after running at an average of 1.42 million bpd in January-May partially because of lower Chinese purchases to fill its strategic reserve.

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U.S. Oil Boom Seen Further Eroding OPEC Market Share
The gross domestic product measures the level of economic activity within a country. To figure the number, the Bureau of Economic Analysis combines the total consumption of goods and services by private individuals and businesses; the total investment in capital for producing goods and services; the total amount spent and consumed by federal, state, and local government entities; and total net exports. It's important, because it serves as the primary gauge of whether the economy is growing or not. Most economists define a recession as two or more consecutive quarters of shrinking GDP.
The CPI measures current price levels for the goods and services that Americans buy. The Bureau of Labor Statistics collects price data on a basket of different items, ranging from necessities like food, clothing and housing to more discretionary expenses like eating out and entertainment. The resulting figure is then compared to those of previous months to determine the inflation rate, which is used in a variety of ways, including cost-of-living increases for Social Security and other government benefits.
The unemployment rate measures the percentage of workers within the total labor force who don't have a job, but who have looked for work in the past four weeks, and who are available to work. Those temporarily laid off from their jobs are also included as unemployed. Yet as critical as the figure is as a measure of how many people are out of work and therefore suffering financial hardship from a lack of a paycheck, one key item to note about the unemployment rate is that the number does not reflect workers who have stopped looking for work entirely. It's therefore important to look beyond the headline numbers to see whether the overall workforce is growing or shrinking.
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