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Big Seven Plays to Increase NatGas, Oil Production Next Month, EIA Says

Oil and natural gas production from seven of the nation's largest unconventional plays is expected to increase slightly next month, as is new-well production per rig, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Total gas production out of the Bakken, Eagle Ford, Haynesville, Marcellus, Niobrara, Permian and Utica plays will be an estimated 47.97 Bcf/d in February, up from an estimated 47.64 Bcf/d this month, according to EIA's latest Drilling Productivity Report (DPR), which was released Tuesday. Gas production out of the plays, which had been on a downward trend for more than a year, is expected to be up this month, even exceeding estimates EIA made in its previous DPR.

Natural gas production increases are expected in the Haynesville (6.12 Bcf/d in February, compared with 6.04 Bcf/d in January), Marcellus (18.59 Bcf/d, compared with 18.40 Bcf/d), Niobrara (4.48 Bcf/d, compared with 4.43 Bcf/d), Permian (7.61 Bcf/d, compared with 7.51 Bcf/d) and Utica (3.96 Bcf/d, compared with 3.94 Bcf/d). The Eagle Ford is expected to produce 5.47 Bcf/d in February, down from 5.56 Bcf/d this month, and the Bakken is expected to produce 1.75 Bcf/d, a marginal decrease compared with January.    

Total oil production out of the seven plays will be an estimated 4.75 million b/d in February, a 41,000 b/d increase compared with January, according to the DPR.

EIA forecast February oil production out of the Permian (2.18 million b/d), Niobrara (426,000 b/d) and Marcellus (37,000) to be up slightly compared with January. At the same time, slight declines are expected in the Bakken (978,000 b/d), Eagle Ford (1.04 million b/d) and Utica (43,000 b/d), and the Haynesville will remain unchanged at 42,000 b/d.

The productivity of new oil and natural gas wells in the plays is expected to increase next month. On a rig-weighted average basis, oil production per rig will be 697 b/d, compared to 682 b/d this month, according to the DPR. New-well gas production per rig in the plays will increase from an estimated 3.31 MMcf/d in January to 3.40 MMcf/d in February, EIA said.

Drilled but uncompleted (DUC) well counts as of the end of December totaled 4,509 in the four oil-dominant regions -- Permian, Bakken, Eagle Ford and Niobrara -- an increase of 180 from November, EIA said. There also were 870 DUCs in the three gas-dominant regions -- Haynesville, Marcellus and Utica -- a decline of 13.

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