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North American Gas/Oil Production Projected to Increase Through 2035

Production of North American natural gas, natural gas liquids (NGL), crude oil and condensate is expected to continue increasing through 2035, according to a report from ICF International.

Gas production is projected to grow by 2% per year in the United States and 1.1% per year in Canada to 121 Bcf/d over the next two decades, ICF said. The largest growth area for gas is expected to be shale plays, which will account for more than half of North American gas production by 2016 and about two-thirds of it by 2035, the analysts said. Over that same period, onshore and offshore conventional gas production will decline by an average rate of minus 1.9% per year, falling to 20 Bcf/d by 2035.

“In the short run, reduced gas-directed drilling activity will continue to slow gas production growth from ‘dry’ gas plays such as the Haynesville Shale, the Greater Green River Basin, the Barnett Shale and the Fayetteville Shale,” ICF said. “However, these plays are likely to rebound as market growth firms gas prices.

“Conversely, liquids-rich plays have fared much better in the relatively low gas price environment that persisted throughout much of 2013. Consequently, U.S. NGL production, which has increased by more than 600,000 barrels per day during the past five years, is expected to continue to grow and will likely double by the end of the projection.” ICF expects North American NGL production to grow by 3.2% per year, reaching 6.4 million boe/d by 2035.

And crude oil and condensate production will be robust, increasing 7.2 million b/d to 18.2 million b/d by 2035, with the largest growth coming from oil sands in Alberta, according to the projections. ICF forecasts oil sands production to increase 4.9% per year; shale/tight oil play production increasing 4% per year; and oil and condensate production from the deepwater Gulf of Mexico increasing 3.4% per year over the course of the projection.

But production from other conventional oil plays is expected to decline an average 1.5% per year and will be 1.4 million b/d lower than today, ICF said.

The report, which is linked to ICF’s Natural Gas-Strategic Outlook, includes annual production projections for more than 50 basins in the United States and Canada.

ICF also said it expects gas-directed drilling to rebound slightly this year -- to about 11,500 wells in the United States and 2,500 in Canada -- after two years of declines.

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