NEW YORK, Dec 29 (Reuters) - U.S. crude oil production in October rose to the highest in more than 46 years, while natural gas production leaped to a new record, U.S. Energy Information Administration data showed on Friday.
The production increases in October compared to a year ago come on the heels of higher energy prices, with U.S. crude futures recently touching $60 a barrel for the first time since mid 2015.
Natural gas futures hit near four-week highs on Friday and were poised for their best weekly gain since July last year on higher demand expectations.
Production was expected to continue rising through 2017 and into 2018, analysts and traders said, driven by rising exports and growing oil demand.
October crude production rose 167,000 barrels per day to 9.64 million bpd, according to the EIA's monthly production report. If the figure is not revised next month, it would be the highest monthly level since May 1971.
September's oil production figures were revised down by 11,000 bpd to 9.47 million bpd, the EIA added.
In North Dakota, oil output rose by 83,000 bpd in October, while it jumped 206,000 bpd in Texas. Offshore in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, production declined by 200,000 bpd.
Meanwhile, total U.S. natural gas production rose to a new record in October, hitting 93.10 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd), up from 91.85 bcfd, according to the EIA, which tracks data back to 2006.
It was driven by a 2.4 percent monthly increase from Texas, the nation’s largest natural gas producer, to 22.39 bcfd, and Alaska, where production rose by 7.3 percent from a month earlier. The overall figure surpasses the previous record set in April 2015, when the nation produced 91.96 bcfd.
For the lower 48 states, the 83.97 bcfd produced also stands as a record, surpassing the previous record set a month earlier.
Crude exports rose to 1.73 million bpd in October compared with 1.47 million bpd in September.
Total refined oil product exports rose to 3.6 million bpd in October, with gasoline exports rising to 732,000 bpd and distillate fuel exports rising to 1.5 million bpd.
Oil demand for the month rose compared with a year ago, edging up 0.8 percent or 156,000 bpd to 19.8 million bpd.
Of that, gasoline demand rose 2.8 percent or 254,000 bpd to 9.3 million bpd compared with last year. Distillate demand slipped 0.5 percent or 20,000 bpd to nearly 4 million bpd.
(Reporting by Catherine Ngai, David Gaffen and Devika Krishna Kumar; Editing by Susan Thomas and Tom Brown)