OPEC slashes production but sees higher U.S. output ahead

OPEC cut oil production in December by the largest amount in more than two years, but the cartel believes U.S. output will rise faster than previously expected.

Crude production in Saudi Arabia and other member nations of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries dropped by 220,900 barrels a day last month, the month before the group has promised to begin slashing its oil output by 1.2 million barrels a day.

Saudi Arabia reduced production by 149,000 barrels a day, alongside cuts in Nigeria and Venezuela. But output edged up slightly in Iran, Iraq, Libya and other countries, OPEC said in its monthly oil market report on Wednesday.

The group believes U.S. oil production will rise faster than it previously expected as crude prices rise. It revised its projections of the nation’s output by 230,000 barrels a day, as shale drillers benefit from higher oil prices and dispatch scores of rigs to domestic oil patches.

Meanwhile, though, OPEC revised its production forecast for non-OPEC countries like Russia, Kazakhstan and China down by 180,000 barrels a day compared to the previous month.