Natural gas production from the seven most prolific U.S. onshore unconventional plays will increase 1.5% in January compared to December, and oil production will increase 1.7%, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).
Those increases would continue an upward trend that began in January 2017, when total gas production was estimated at 47.51 Bcf/d, and total oil production was an estimated 4.54 million b/d.
Total gas production from the seven regions -- the Anadarko, Appalachian and Permian basins, and the Bakken, Eagle Ford, Haynesville and Niobrara formations -- is expected to reach 76.92 Bcf/d in January, compared to 75.79 Bcf/d in December, EIA said in its latest Drilling Productivity Report (DPR).
EIA expects month-to-month gas production increases in all seven regions, led as usual by the Appalachia Basin, home to the Marcellus and Utica Shales. Production there is expected to reach 31.45 Bcf/d, up from 31.04 Bcf/d this month, according to the DPR.
EIA is also forecasting gas production increases in the Anadarko (7.64 Bcf/d, from 7.54 Bcf/d), Bakken (2.68 Bcf/d, from 2.66 Bcf/d), Eagle Ford (7.33 Bcf/d, from 7.21 Bcf/d), Haynesville (9.86 Bcf/d, from 9.72 Bcf/d), Niobrara (5.21 Bcf/d, from 5.16 Bcf/d) and Permian (12.74 Bcf/d from 12.48 Bcf/d).
The Permian will continue to dominate domestic oil production in January, EIA said, reaching 3.80 million b/d, compared to 3.73 million b/d in December. Oil output increases are expected in five other plays, with the Anadarko estimated at 599,000 b/d, Appalachia at 155,000 b/d, Bakken at 1.46 million b/d, Eagle Ford at 1.43 million b/d and Niobrara at 679,000 b/d. The Haynesville (43,000 b/d) is forecast to see oil production remain unchanged month/month.
Drilled but uncompleted (DUC) well counts across the Big Seven ended November at 8,723, an increase of 287 from October, EIA said.
The bulk of the DUCs continue to be found in the Permian, which jumped 248 in November to 4,039, and in the Eagle Ford, which increased 28 to 1,563. Three Big Seven plays saw their DUC numbers decrease from October: Appalachia (minus 19), the Bakken (minus 8) and the Niobrara (minus 16).
The productivity of new oil wells in the Big Seven plays is expected to increase in January to 691 b/d, according to the DPR. New-well gas production per rig is also expected to increase during the month to 3.88 MMcf/d.
EIA compiles the DPR using recent U.S. data on the total number of drilling rigs in operation along with estimates of drilling productivity and estimated changes in output from existing wells to provide estimated changes in production.