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The oil market has a forecasting problem

Predicting oil production growth is a perilous task at best. Surging US oil output isn’t helping

Back in November, when Opec's ministers sat down in Vienna to assess the market and plot their strategy to rebalance supply and demand, their data brought good news. Non-Opec supply in 2018 would rise by just 870,000 barrels a day, said the monthly oil-market report from the group's secretariat, but global consumption would increase by 1.53m b/d. Demand for Opec's own oil would reach 33.4m b/d in 2018—almost 800,000 b/d more than the group was producing. Another heave on the cuts would clear the stock overhang and bring supply and demand into balance. Three months of surging tight oil output later and the outlook, for Opec and the market, has changed. So, once again, have the data—and the r

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