© Reuters.
© Reuters.

By Erwin Seba

HOUSTON (Reuters) – Nearly two-thirds of U.S. energy company executives polled by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas believe U.S. crude oil production has peaked, according to a survey released on Wednesday.

The COVID-19 pandemic has knocked global oil demand and prices, prompting deep cuts in drilling this year by shale oil producers. The United States last pumped 12.2 million barrels per day, taking top spot in global crude oil output.

Survey results said 66% of 154 oil and gas firm executives contacted by the Dallas Fed this month believe U.S. crude oil production has peaked. The survey includes executives from Texas, Louisiana and New Mexico.

The Dallas Fed did not say if the peak was considered temporary or permanent as major oil firms have been discussing.

Global demand destruction during the COVID-19 pandemic, work from home policies and the continued growth of electric vehicles has energy companies looking to a prolonged downturn in crude oil and fuel consumption.

Earlier this year, BP Plc (L:) said the pandemic would reduce demand by 3 million barrels per day (bpd) through 2025 and forecast a peak in demand between 2019 and 2050, according to the company’s energy outlook.

Nearly three-quarters of executives from 148 oil and gas firms told the Dallas Fed that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) would have a bigger role in determining the price of crude oil going forward.

Executives surveyed, on average, expect the price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil () to be $43.27 a barrel by the end of 2020. On Wednesday, WTI was up 36 cents at $40.16 a barrel.

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