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US oil production unlikely to rise much through all of 2017: Hamm


US production of crude oil will take around 18 months to recover to the multi-decade highs seen in 2015, and total US production is unlikely to change much throughout 2017 from the current rate of around 8.6 million b/d, Harold Hamm, chairman and CEO of energy group Continental Resources, said Thursday.

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Speaking at the S&P Global Platts Global Energy Outlook Forum in New York, Hamm said OPEC appeared to be targeting a crude oil price of between $50/b and $65/b, as part of its broad agreement to curtail production from 2017, and noted that WTI and Brent crude futures had been trading at around $55/b in recent days.

"At those prices it's going to be slow. You need about 18 months before you see some recovery [in US crude production] at $50-$55 oil," said Hamm. "I don't see it changing meaningfully from this year," he added, when asked where US production was likely to be at the end of 2017.

US crude production fell dramatically after peaking at nearly 9.5 million b/d in early 2015, as US producers responded to sharply lower oil prices after OPEC decided in October 2014 not to restrain production from its members -- a decision that was reversed at a meeting in Algiers earlier this year.

The US Energy Information Administration forecast Tuesday that US crude production would average 8.86 million b/d in 2016, up 20,000 b/d from last month's forecast, and 8.78 million b/d in 2017, up 50,000 b/d from last month's prediction and 740,000 b/d higher than the Energy Information Administration's US supply forecast from April.

--Dave Ernsberger,

--Edited by Jonathan Loades-Carter,