Natural gas production from the seven major U.S. unconventional shale plays is projected to decline through February, with the Marcellus and Eagle Ford expected to see the biggest drops, according to the Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) updated Drilling Productivity Report released Monday.
Daily production from the Marcellus is expected to average 15.2 Bcf/d in February, a decline of 438 MMcf/d from its actual December production, according to EIA data. The Eagle Ford is projected to produce 6.5 Bcf/d in February, a decline of 290.5 MMcf/d from December. The Niobrara (minus 141.3 MMcf/d) and the Bakken (minus 43.24 MMcf/d) are also expected to decline from December to February.
The Utica (plus 110.1 MMcf/d), Haynesville (plus 28.1 MMcf/d) and the Permian (plus 15 MMcf/d) are all expected to see increased production in February over their December totals.
In the January to February projection window, only the Haynesville (plus 16 MMcf/d) and Utica (plus 43 MMcf/d) are expected to see noticeable increases in gas production, with the Permian staying essentially flat at a projected increase of 1 MMcf/d. Over the same time frame, the biggest loser production-wise is expected to be the Marcellus (minus 225 MMcf/d), followed by the Eagle Ford (minus 140 MMcf/d), Niobrara (minus 76 MMcf/d) and Bakken (minus 24 MMcf/d).
From January to February, oil production is projected to decline noticeably in the Bakken (minus 24,000 b/d), Eagle Ford (minus 72,000 b/d) and Niobrara (minus 23,000 b/d), with the Haynesville (minus 1,000 b/d), Marcellus (minus 2,000 b/d) and Utica (plus 1,000 b/d) only expected to see slight changes. Production is expected to increase by 5,000 b/d in the Permian.
Illustrating efficiency gains, month-to-month, per-well productivity gains are expected across all seven regions moving into February. The Marcellus (plus 130 Mcf/d) and Utica (plus 200 Mcf/d) are expected to see the biggest per rig productivity gains in February for gas. For oil, the Niobrara (plus 16 b/d) and the Utica (plus 12 b/d) are expected to see the biggest gains in per-rig productivity.
EIA calculates the production estimates in its monthly Drilling Productivity Report using recent rig counts “along with estimates of drilling productivity and estimated changes in production from existing oil and natural gas wells.”