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Big Seven Oil, NatGas Production Still Slipping, EIA Says

Natural gas and oil production from the nation's seven largest unconventional plays is likely to decline once again next month compared with April figures, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Total oil production out of the plays will be an estimated 4.84 million b/d in May, compared with 4.95 million b/d in April, according to EIA's latest Drilling Productivity Report (DPR).

Oil production will be lower in five basins: the Bakken (1.05 million b/d, compared with from 1.11 million b/d in April), Eagle Ford (1.18 million b/d, compared to 1.25 million b/d), and Niobrara (404,000 b/d, compared to 420,000 b/d), along with marginal declines in the Haynesville and Permian, and unchanged production from the Marcellus and Utica.

Total natural gas production from the plays will be an estimated 45.93 Bcf/d in May, a 491 MMcf/d decline from 46.42 Bcf/d this month, EIA said. That's about the same month-to-month decline EIA had forecast for in each of its two previous DPRs (see Shale DailyMarch 7; Feb. 9).

The biggest decline once again is expected to come in the Eagle Ford Shale, where EIA is forecasting production of 6.19 Bcf/d in May, down 213 MMcf/d from 6.41 Bcf/d this month, but declines are forecast for six of the seven plays analyzed in the DPR.

EIA expects 17.28 Bcf/d out of the Marcellus Shale next month, compared with 17.34 Bcf/d in April. The agency also expects to see month-to-month declines in the Bakken Shale (1.60 Bcf/d, compared with 1.63 Bcf/d in April), the Haynesville Shale (6.04 Bcf/d, compared with 6.10 Bcf/d), the Niobrara formation (4.13 Bcf/d, compared with 4.22 Bcf/d) and the Permian Basin (7.02 Bcf/d, compared with 7.06 Bcf/d). The Utica Shale is expected to see a marginal increase, EIA said.

The productivity of new oil wells in the plays is expected to remain virtually unchanged in May. On a rig-weighted average basis, oil production per rig will be 532 b/d, compared to 541 b/d this month, according to the DPR. At the same time, new-well gas production per rig in the plays will increase to a combined 2.84 MMcf/d in May, compared to 2.69 MMcf/d this month.

EIA released the first DPR 30 months ago (see Shale DailyOct. 22, 2013) but didn't forecast month-to-month declines until last September (see Shale DailySept. 15, 2015; April 13, 2015).

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