THE US Energy Information Administration (EIA) said yesterday it would not change its forecast for offshore oil production cuts after Tuesday's lifting of a deep-water drilling ban.

The EIA predicted the deep-water moratorium, imposed in response to the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, would cut US offshore oil production by 31000 barrels a day in the fourth quarter and by 82000 barrels a day next year, Richard Newell, the agency's administrator, said.

"We're not expecting that to change significantly as a result of the announcement yesterday," he said.

US Interior Secretary Ken Salazar on Tuesday lifted the ban on deep-water drilling to deeper than 152m, citing new safeguards intended to prevent a repeat of the Gulf of Mexico spill. The moratorium was opposed by officials in Gulf Coast states, who said it only added to the economic effects of the spill. Bloomberg