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EIA Expects Another Sluggish Month of Big Seven NatGas, Oil Production

April is likely to be another in a series of sluggish natural gas and oil production months for the nation's seven largest unconventional plays, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Total natural gas production from the plays will be an estimated 46.31 Bcf/d in April, a 450 MMcf/d decline from 46.76 Bcf/d this month, EIA forecast in its latest Drilling Productivity Report (DPR), which was released Monday. That's about the same month-to-month decline EIA had forecast for February-March in its previous DPR (see Shale DailyFeb. 9).

The biggest decline is expected to come in the Eagle Ford Shale, where EIA is forecasting production of 6.34 Bcf/d in April, down 182 MMcf/d from 6.52 Bcf/d this month, but declines are forecast for all seven plays analyzed in the DPR. The agency expects 17.32 Bcf/d out of the Marcellus Shale next month, compared with 17.43 Bcf/d in March.

EIA also expects to see month-to-month declines out of the Bakken Shale (1.63 Bcf/d, compared with 1.60 Bcf/d in March), the Haynesville Shale (6.14 Bcf/d, compared with 6.20 Bcf/d), the Niobrara formation (4.17 Bcf/d, compared with 4.25 Bcf/d), the Permian Basin (7.06 Bcf/d, compared with 7.08 Bcf/d) and the Utica Shale (3.65 Bcf/d, compared with (3.62 Bcf/d).

EIA also expects declines in oil production, with the seven-basin total for April estimated at 4.87 million b/d, compared to 4.98 million b/d in March. Oil production will be lower in five basins: the Bakken (1.08 million b/d, from 1.11 million b/d in March), Eagle Ford (1.18 million b/d, compared to 1.26 million b/d), and Niobrara (408,000 b/d, compared to 423,000 b/d), along with marginal declines in the Haynesville, Marcellus and Utica.

EIA released the first DPR more than two years ago (see Shale Daily, Oct. 22, 2013) but didn't forecast month-to-month declines until September (see Shale Daily, Sept. 15, 2015April 13, 2015).

The productivity of new wells in the plays is expected to remain virtually unchanged in April. On a rig-weighted average basis, new-well gas production per rig in the plays will be a combined 2.69 MMcf/d in April, compared to 2.70 MMcf/d this month, while new-well oil production per rig will be 528 b/d, compared to 516 b/d this month.

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