A sustained upswing in U.S. shale growth is likely to offset global production problems over the coming months, energy analysts told CNBC on Wednesday.
The mood music in the energy market has been heavily influenced by a flurry of demand-side developments of late, with investors continuing to monitor an escalating trade war between the U.S. and China, the financial crisis in Turkey and a resurgent U.S. dollar.
Yet, industry analysts point out the U.S. shale boom is perhaps the most notable supply consideration not currently receiving the attention it deserves.
"The explosion in U.S. tight oil production has long been the dominant supply catalyst within the energy complex but now finds itself at the tail end of concerns. Even so, its ascent continues apace," Stephen Brennock, oil analyst at PVM Oil Associates, said in a research note published Wednesday.
On Tuesday, the American Petroleum Institute (API) reported U.S. crude stocks rose by almost 4 million barrels per day in the week to August 10 — climbing to levels of 410.8 million barrels.
Alongside a weakening global economic outlook, the API report appeared to weigh on oil prices on Wednesday afternoon, with international benchmark Brent crude trading at around $71.97 — down almost 0.7 percent. Meanwhile, U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) stood at $66.38, off nearly 1 percent.
"U.S. shale doom-mongers should not get ahead of themselves. They ought to remember that the U.S. shale patch is in better financial shape than ever … When it comes to U.S. shale, it is still very much a case of the only way is up," Brennock said.
Official U.S. oil inventory data is due to be published by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) later on Wednesday.
The price of oil collapsed from near $120 a barrel in June 2014 due to weak demand, a strong dollar and booming U.S. shale production. OPEC's reluctance to cut output was also seen as a key reason behind the fall. But, the oil cartel soon moved to curb production — along with other oil producing nations in late 2016.
Investors are currently seen weighing bullish factors that include potential supply disruptions to Iranian crude exports against more bearish indicators, such as broad greenback strength and a ramp-up in production by OPEC and its allied partners.
"The key medium-term question for the supply side of the oil market is: How much longer can rapid U.S. oil supply growth continue to offset poor production outcomes in the rest of the world?" Harry Colvin, director and senior economist at Longview Economics, said in a research note published Wednesday.
He estimated that without U.S crude production, the world's supply deficit would likely increase by around 5.3 million barrels per day over the next five years.
But, Longview Economics' Colvin forecast that because America's crude supply is not determined by politics or ageing oil fields — unlike other major producers — it "could, and will, fill in most of that gap."