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Production From Big Seven Plays to Move Higher Again in June, EIA Says

In a continuation of a trend that began in January, natural gas and oil production from the nation's seven most prolific unconventional plays will increase again in June, while the number of drilled but uncompleted (DUC) wells in the plays will also increase, according to data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA).

The Bakken, Eagle Ford, Haynesville, Marcellus, Niobrara, Permian and Utica plays will produce an estimated total of 51.3 Bcf/d of natural gas in June, up from 50.8 Bcf/d in May, according to EIA's latest Drilling Productivity Report (DPR), which was released Monday. Gas production out of the plays, which had been on a downward trend for more than a year, returned to the upside in January and has been on the upswing ever since, according to EIA.

Gas production is expected to be higher in all seven plays this month compared to last. Increased gas production is expected in the Bakken (1.80 Bcf/d in June, compared with 1.78 Bcf/d in May), Eagle Ford (6.14 Bcf/d, compared with 6.02 Bcf/d in May), Haynesville (6.46 Bcf/d, compared with 6.36 Bcf/d), Marcellus (19.26 Bcf/d, compared with 19.24 Bcf/d), and Niobrara (4.68 Bcf/d, compared with 4.62 Bcf/d), as well as the Permian (8.56 Bcf/d, compared with 8.39 Bcf/d) and Utica (4.43 Bcf/d, compared with 4.38 Bcf/d).

Total oil production out of the seven plays will be an estimated 5.40 million b/d in June, versus 5.28 million b/d in May, according to the DPR.

EIA forecast June oil production out of the Permian (2.49 million b/d), Niobrara (457,000 b/d) Eagle Ford (1.28 million b/d) and Bakken (1.03 million b/d) to be up compared with May. While the Utica (54,000 b/d), Marcellus (41,000 b/d) and Haynesville (45,000 b/d) will see oil production in June nearly unchanged compared with May.

DUC well counts as of the end of April totaled 4,779 in the four oil-dominant regions -- Permian, Bakken, Eagle Ford and Niobrara -- an increase of 174 from March, EIA said. There also were 942 DUCs in the three gas-dominant regions -- Haynesville, Marcellus and Utica -- which was 13 more than in March.

The productivity of new oil and natural gas wells in the plays is expected to decrease slightly in June. On a rig-weighted average basis, oil production per rig will be 724 b/d, compared to 727 b/d this month, according to the DPR. New-well gas production per rig in the plays will decrease to an estimated 3.54 MMcf/d in June, compared with 3.57 MMcf/d this month, EIA said.

The seven regions included in the DPR accounted for 92% of domestic oil production growth and all domestic natural gas production growth during 2011-14.

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