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August 8, 2017 2:45 PM, EDT
EIA Raises Both 2017, 2018 US Crude Production Forecasts
Gulf of Mexico Oil Production BaldoT83/Getty Images

U.S. producers are seen pumping away, even with the price of West Texas Intermediate crude lingering below $50 a barrel, according to the latest government estimates.

Domestic output will average 9.91 million barrels a day next year, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its monthly Short-Term Energy Outlook released Aug. 8. That’s up from 9.9 million barrels estimated in July, when the EIA lowered its forecast for 2018 production for the first time since the agency started posting the estimates in January.

U.S. explorers have ramped up drilling this year, piling on oil rigs, at a time when nationwide crude output hovers at the highest level since July 2015. Top shale drillers like EOG Resources Inc. have outlined goals that would help push U.S. output toward a record 10 million barrels a day next year.

The agency lowered its 2017 WTI crude estimate to $48.88 a barrel from $48.95. Brent crude, the global benchmark, was revised down to $50.71 this year, compared with a prior estimate of $50.79 in July. Price forecasts for both WTI and the global benchmark Brent in 2018 remained unchanged from July’s estimates of $49.58 and $51.58 respectively.

For 2017, domestic production is seen at 9.35 million barrels a day, up from 9.33 million in the July outlook. Global production is forecast at 100.21 million barrels a day next year, compared with a 100.20 million estimated in July. Demand is seen at 100.02 million barrels a day next year, up from 100 million.