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Big Seven NatGas, Oil Production to Slow in March-April, EIA Says

Production from the nation's seven most prolific shale and tight oil plays will slow coming out of the winter months, with natural gas production expected to increase less than 0.5% between March and April, and oil production remaining almost unchanged, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Natural gas production decreases in the Niobrara (4.75 Bcf/d in April, down compared with 4.77 Bcf/d this month) and the Bakken (1.55 Bcf/d, down from 1.56 Bcf/d), and the other plays will have only marginal increases, EIA said in its latest Drilling Productivity Report (DPR). The Marcellus Shale will reach 16.79 Bcf/d next month (compared with 16.71 Bcf/d in March), the Eagle Ford 7.53 Bcf/d (compared with 7.52 Bcf/d), the Haynesville 7.14 Bcf/d (compared with 7.06 Bcf/d), the Permian 6.43 Bcf/d (compared with 6.40 Bcf/d) and the Utica 1.97 Bcf/d (compared with 1.92 Bcf/d).

Total natural gas production from the seven plays analyzed in the DPR is projected to reach 46.15 Bcf/d, compared with 45.93 Bcf/d this month, EIA said

On the oil side of the equation, EIA expects production to decrease month to month in the Bakken (1.32 million b/d in April, compared with 1.33 million b/d this month), Eagle Ford (1.72 million b/d, compared with 1.73 million b/d) and Niobrara (413,000 b/d, compared with 418,000 b/d), and two others -- the Haynesville and Marcellus -- are projected to remain unchanged at 57,000 b/d each. Only the Permian (1.98 million b/d in April, compared with 1.96 million b/d in March) and Utica (62,000 b/d, compared with 59,000 b/d) will see oil production increases, the agency said.

That would leave total oil production from the big seven plays in April at 5.61 million b/d in April, virtually unchanged from March.

New wells continue to become more productive, according to the EIA report. New-well gas and oil production is expected to be higher in April than in March across the big seven (except for oil production in the Haynesville and Marcellus, which will remain unchanged), the agency said. On a rig-weighted average, new-well gas production per rig in the plays will be a combined 2.03 MMcf/d in April, compared with 1.84 MMcf/d this month, and new-well oil production per rig will be 374 b/d, compared with 352 b/d this month.

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