When oil prices rocketed toward $60 a barrel this fall, U.S. shale producers hedged more barrels of oil during the quarter than in at least three years, which could help propel the country to record crude production by next year. More than 144 million barrels were added to hedges, after global oil markets rallied by as much as $13 in the quarter. Higher prices help producers lock in profits for future sales. That should guarantee that total production exceeds 10 million bpd in 2018, which would be an all-time record for U.S. drilling. Traders say growth next year will likely exceed government forecasts, heralding a record year that could pressure prices in the near term. For oil traders, hedging data from shale companies serves as a leading indicator of future supplies. “After a slow start in the first half of 2017, U.S. oil producers sped […]