Continuing a months-long upturn, natural gas and oil production from the nation's seven most prolific unconventional plays is expected to move higher in April compared with the previous month, according to data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA).
The Bakken, Eagle Ford, Haynesville, Marcellus, Niobrara, Permian and Utica plays will produce an estimated total of 49.62 Bcf/d of natural gas in April, up from 49.06 Bcf/d in March, according to EIA's latest Drilling Productivity Report (DPR), which was released Monday. Gas production out of the plays, which had been on a downward trend for more than a year, returned to the upside in January and is expected to be up this month compared to February, according to EIA.
Gas production is expected to be higher in all seven plays this month compared to last. EIA estimates greater gas production in the Eagle Ford (5.76 Bcf/d in April, compared with 5.71 Bcf/d in March), Haynesville (6.25 Bcf/d, compared with 6.14 Bcf/d), Marcellus (19.19 Bcf/d, compared with 19.02 Bcf/d), Niobrara (4.63 Bcf/d, compared with 4.58 Bcf/d), Permian (7.95 Bcf/d, compared with 7.79 Bcf/d) and Utica (4.27 Bcf/d, compared with 4.24 Bcf/d), with a marginal increase to 1.58 Bcf/d in the Bakken.
Total oil production out of the seven plays will be an estimated 4.96 million b/d in April, compared with an 4.85 million b/d in March, according to the DPR.
EIA forecast April oil production out of the Permian (2.29 million b/d), Niobrara (444,000 b/d), Marcellus (38,000 b/d) and Eagle Ford (1.14 million b/d) to be up compared with March. At the same time, a slight decline is expected in the Bakken (964,000 b/d) and the Haynesville and Utica will remain unchanged at 423,000 b/d each.
The seven regions included in the DPR accounted for 92% of domestic oil production growth and all domestic natural gas production growth during 2011-14.
The productivity of new oil and natural gas wells in the plays is expected to increase slightly in April. On a rig-weighted average basis, oil production per rig will be 720 b/d, compared to 711 b/d this month, according to the DPR. New-well gas production per rig in the plays will increase marginally to an estimated 3.52 MMcf/d in April, EIA said.
Drilled but uncompleted (DUC) well counts as of the end of February totaled 4,515 in the four oil-dominant regions -- Permian, Bakken, Eagle Ford and Niobrara -- an increase of 90 from January, EIA said. There also were 928 DUCs in the three gas-dominant regions -- Haynesville, Marcellus and Utica -- one more than in January.