The relentless rise of U.S. shale growth could soon spark another dramatic change of policy from leading oil producers, according to the latest monthly report from the International Energy Agency (IEA).
"U.S. producers are enjoying a second wave of growth so extraordinary that in 2018 their increase in liquids production could equal global demand growth," the IEA said in its closely-watched report published Tuesday.
"This is a sobering thought for other producers currently sitting on shut-in production capacity and facing a renewed challenge to their market share," the Paris-based organization added.
In November 2014, the so-called U.S. shale revolution prompted OPEC to announce a new strategy geared towards improving its market share. Analysts interpreted this move as an attempt to squeeze higher-cost producers, including U.S. shale oil, out of the market. Market conditions in early 2018 seem to be reminiscent of that first wave of U.S. shale growth, prompting the IEA to warn history could be repeating itself.
The latest monthly report from the IEA comes at a time when rising U.S. crude exports and a stronger-than-anticipated price rally have threatened to loosen Russia and Saudi Arabia's grip on key overseas markets.
"We are seeing United States production rising very, very dramatically before our very eyes and that's likely to continue in 2018," Neil Atkinson, head of the oil industry and markets division at the IEA, told CNBC Tuesday.