OREANDA-NEWS. December 13, 2017. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) increased its 2018 US crude production forecast by less than 1pc to 10.02mn b/d.

The 2018 forecast would be the highest in US history, exceeding the previous record of 9.6mn b/d set in 1970, according to the agency's monthly Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO).

The EIA also raised its output prediction for this year slightly to 9.24mn b/d.

The agency forecast that ICE Brent prices will average about $4.50/bl higher than WTI in 2018.

The Brent-WTI price spread widened significantly in in recent months to $5-$6/bl, with the larger spread persisting even after the effects of Hurricane Harvey had largely waned. Harvey hit the Texas coast on 25 August causing shut downs of ports, terminals, pipelines and refineries.

The spread widened further yesterday after Brent prices were boosted by a shutdown of the Forties Pipeline System which limited a key supply source. The February Brent-February WTI spread was $6.64/bl yesterday at closing.

The EIA also increased its 2018 spot price estimates for both benchmarks with WTI up by 3.4pc to $52.77/bl and Brent up by 2.7pc to $57.26/bl.