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July Natural Gas, Oil Output to Edge Higher in Lower 48’s Big Seven Plays, EIA Says

Natural gas and oil production out of the nation's seven most prolific unconventional plays is expected to continue its relentless push higher in July, according to data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA).

The Bakken, Eagle Ford, Haynesville, Marcellus and Utica shales, along with the Niobrara formation and Permian Basin, will produce an estimated total of 51.7 Bcf/d of natural gas in July, up from 51.0 Bcf/d in June, according to EIA's latest Drilling Productivity Report (DPR), which was released Monday. Gas production out of the plays, which was on a downward trend throughout 2016, returned to the upside in January and has been on the upswing ever since, according to EIA.

Gas production is expected to be higher in all seven plays again this month compared to last. Increased gas production is expected in the Bakken (1.81 Bcf/d in July, compared with 1.90 Bcf/d in June), Eagle Ford (6.36 Bcf/d, compared with 6.22 Bcf/d in June), Haynesville (6.59 Bcf/d, compared with 6.45 Bcf/d), Marcellus (19.41 Bcf/d, compared with 19.32 Bcf/d), and Niobrara (4.73 Bcf/d, compared with 4.69 Bcf/d), as well as the Permian (8.46 Bcf/d, compared with 8.30 Bcf/d) and Utica (4.33 Bcf/d, compared with 4.26 Bcf/d).

Total oil production out of the seven plays will be an estimated 5.48 million b/d in July, versus 5.35 million b/d in June, and increase of 127,000 b/d, according to the DPR.

EIA forecast July oil production from the Permian (2.47 million b/d), Niobrara (462,000 b/d), Eagle Ford (1.37 million b/d), Bakken (1.04 million b/d), Marcellus (40,000 b/d), and Utica (51,000 b/d) to be up compared with June. The Haynesville (45,000 b/d) will see oil production in July nearly unchanged month/month.

Drilled but uncompleted (DUC) well counts as of the end of May totaled 5,005 in the four oil-dominant regions -- Permian, Bakken, Eagle Ford and Niobrara -- an increase of 177 from April, EIA said. There also were 941 DUCs in the three gas-dominant regions -- Haynesville, Marcellus and Utica -- which was one fewer than in April.

The productivity of new oil wells in the play is expected to increase marginally in June to 719 b/d, according to the DPR. New-well gas production per rig, on the other hand, is expected to slip to 3.47 MMcf/d in June, compared with 3.51 MMcf/d this month.

The seven regions included in the DPR accounted for 92% of domestic oil production growth and all domestic natural gas production growth during 2011-2014.

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