US oil output slips in January, hits monthly record in December, new data show

Key Points
  • U.S. oil production dipped by about 90,000 barrels per day in January, the Energy Information Administration reports.
  • EIA revises its December figures, showing U.S. output hit a record monthly high at 11.96 million bpd.
  • Preliminary weekly figures suggest U.S. drillers are now pumping about 12.1 million bpd.
Oil operations in the Permian Basin near Midland, Texas
Nick Oxford | Reuters

U.S. oil production slipped in January, but fresh data from the Department of Energy show the nation's output was much higher than originally reported at the end of last year.

American energy companies pumped 11.871 million barrels per day in January, according to the Energy Information Administration, the department's statistics bureau. That was down from 11.961 million bpd in December, a new monthly record.

Last month, EIA reported that December's production averaged 11.849 million bpd — a difference of 112,000 bpd from its second reading released on Friday. November output was also revised higher, from 11.905 million bpd to 11.926 million bpd.

EIA's first reading for January was roughly in line with preliminary figures, which the administration releases weekly.

The latest weekly figures show U.S. production holding steady around 12.1 million bpd — an all-time high if confirmed by EIA's monthly reading.

Bottlenecks in the biggest U.S. shale oil field, the Permian basin, are expected to keep a lid on growth through the first half of the year. There are not enough pipelines and other infrastructure in western Texas and southeastern New Mexico to accommodate the surge in crude oil from Permian fields.

Production from Texas dipped 1.3 percent in January to 4.832 million bpd, the EIA data show. New Mexico's output was roughly flat at 815,000 bpd.

Compared with January 2018, production was up 24 percent in Texas and 50 percent in New Mexico.