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Gas, Oil Production Trend Ever Upward in Big Seven Plays, EIA Says

Natural Gas and oil production out of the United States' seven most prolific onshore unconventional plays will be higher in June than in May, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), continuing a trend dating back 18 months.

The latest Drilling Productivity Report (DPR), released by the EIA on Monday, uses recent U.S. data on the total number of drilling rigs in operation along with estimates of drilling productivity and estimated changes in output from existing wells to provide estimated changes in production for seven key regions: the Anadarko, Appalachian and Permian basins, and the Bakken, Eagle Ford, Haynesville and Niobrara formations.

Production increases forecast in the DPR would continue a trend that began in January 2017. At that time, total gas production out of the plays was estimated at 47.51 Bcf/d, and total oil production was an estimated 4.54 million b/d.

All seven plays are expected to see increased natural gas production in June compared with May, and total gas production from the plays is expected to reach 68.12 Bcf/d, a 1.6% increase compared to 67.03 Bcf/d in May. The Appalachian Basin, home to the mighty Marcellus and Utica shales, will continue to lead the way in June, with an estimated 28.15 Bcf/d, compared to 27.77 Bcf/d in May, EIA said.

Increases are also expected in the Anadarko (6.60 Bcf/d from 6.54 Bcf/d), Bakken (2.28 Bcf/d from 2.23 Bcf/d), Eagle Ford (6.87 Bcf/d from 6.72 Bcf/d), Haynesville (8.74 Bcf/d from 8.54 Bcf/d), Niobrara (4.99 Bcf/d from 4.94 Bcf/d) and Permian (10.50 Bcf/d from 10.27 Bcf/d).

Total oil production in the seven plays is expected to increase to an estimated 7.18 million b/d in June, a 2% increased compared to 7.03 million b/d in May, EIA said.

Much of the increase in oil production is to come from the Permian, which is forecast to reach 3.28 million b/d, compared to 3.20 million b/d in May.

Lesser increases are expected in five other plays, with the Anadarko estimated at 524,000 b/d, Appalachia at 114,000 b/d, Bakken at 1.24 million b/d, Eagle Ford at 1.39 million b/d and Niobrara at 596,000 b/d. The Haynesville (42,000 b/d) is forecast to see oil production remain unchanged month/month.

Drilled but uncompleted (DUC) well counts across the Big Seven ended April at 7,677, an increase of 55 from March, EIA said.

The bulk of the DUCs were in the Permian, which saw an increase of 111 in April to 3,086, and in the Eagle Ford, which increased 18 to 1,494. Four of the Big Seven plays saw their DUC numbers decrease from March: the Anadarko (minus 7), Appalachia (minus 20), Haynesville (minus three) and Niobrara (minus 44).

The productivity of new oil wells in the plays is expected to increase in June to 690  b/d, according to the DPR. New-well gas production per rig is also expected to increase during the month to 3.81 MMcf/d.

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