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NatGas, Oil Production Slipping in Big Seven Shale Plays, EIA Says

Total natural gas and oil production from the nation's seven largest unconventional plays will continue to decline at least through next month, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said.

Total natural gas production from the plays will be an estimated 44.23 Bcf/d in March, a 451 MMcf/d decline from 44.71 Bcf/d this month, EIA forecast in its latest Drilling Productivity Report (DPR), which was released Monday.

The Marcellus and Eagle Ford shales will be responsible for the bulk of the decline, according to EIA estimates. The agency expects 15.70 Bcf/d to come out of the Marcellus in March, compared to 15.90 Bcf/d in February, and 6.44 from the Eagle Ford in March, compared to 6.60 this month. EIA also expects to see month-to-month declines out of the Bakken (1.58 Bcf/d, compared to 1.60 Bcf/d in February), the Haynesville (6.20 Bcf/d, compared with 6.23 Bcf/d), and the Niobrara formation (4.15 Bcf/d, compared to 4.22 Bcf/d). The Permian Basin will experience a marginal decrease while the Utica should see a 32 MMcf/d increase, according to the DPR.

EIA also expects slight declines in oil production, with the seven-basin total for March estimated at 4.92 million b/d, compared to 5.02 million b/d in February. Oil production will be lower in five basins: the Bakken (1.10 million b/d, from 1.13 million b/d in February), Eagle Ford (1.22 million b/d, compared to 1.27 million b/d), and Niobrara formation (389,000 b/d, compared to 404,000 b/d), along with marginal declines in the Haynesville and Marcellus. Oil production is expected to increase slightly in the Permian Basin and will be unchanged in the Utica, EIA said.

EIA released the first DPR more than two years ago (see Shale DailyOct. 22, 2013) but didn't forecast month-to-month declines until September (see Shale DailySept. 15;April 13).

The productivity of new wells in the plays is expected to remain virtually unchanged in March, EIA said. On a rig-weighted average basis, new-well gas production per rig in the plays will be a combined 2.68 MMcf/d in March, compared to 2.72 MMcf/d this month, and new-well oil production per rig will be 504 b/d, compared to 500 b/d this month.

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