OPEC: US Oil Growth Doesn't Mean Economic Growth

By Daniel J. Graeber of Oilprice.com
Thursday, 17 Jan 2013 | 2:06 PM ET
Alexander Korolkov | AFP | Getty Images

In its report for January, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries said the United States in 2013 may post the highest oil supply increase among non-member states. But OPEC doesn't think that's helping America's growth prospects, and the U.S. Congress is the reason.

U.S. oil production should increase by 490,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd) this year to reach an average of 10.4 million bpd. OPEC said much of the production increase should come from more drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and the oil boom under way in North Dakota.

(Read more: US Congress Breathes Life Into Wind Energy)

Production from member states Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, declined. Riyadh said recently it wasn't trying to manipulate the commodities market and, given the downbeat assessment of the U.S. economy, it may be congressional leaders that eventually face the ultimate blame for economic woes despite the oil boom.

OPEC's production forecast for the United States is supported by increased drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. Oil supply levels in North Dakota, as well, continue to set records, while onshore production in Texas showed what the cartel said was "healthy growth."

(Read more: Rail and Pipelines Merge in Oil Transit Bonanza)

U.S. oil supply in 2013 is expected to increase by nearly 5 percent to 10.44 million bpd, which OPEC said was the highest projected increase for non-member states.

The emergence of the United States as a global oil leader, however, adds virtually nothing to stimulate the nation's economy, according to OPEC.

OPEC said its growth expectations for the U.S. economy remain at 2.0 percent, unchanged from December's report. The cartel said U.S. oil consumption, a reflection of economic health, could return to negative territory if congressional leaders are unable to settle ongoing fiscal disagreements related to the debt ceiling.

(Read more: Peak Oil and the Future--What Can We Expect in 2013)

The U.S. Treasury Department last year averted a fiscal disaster by taking measures to ease debt concerns. The cartel said that if no solutions are found to the pending financial chaos, however, the U.S. economy may take a hit on its gross domestic product.

Fitch Ratings this week said the U.S. credit rating is in jeopardy should negotiations on the debt ceiling go nowhere. For OPEC, meanwhile, there are fears of "major uncertainty" in the U.S. economy.

—This story originally appeared on Oilprice.com. Click here to read the original story.


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