Natural gas production out of the seven most prolific U.S. onshore unconventional plays -- the Anadarko, Appalachian and Permian basins, and the Bakken, Eagle Ford, Haynesville and Niobrara formations -- is expected to reach 79.02 Bcf/d in April, compared to an estimated 78.14 Bcf/d this month, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).
Oil production from the same plays is also expected to increase month to month, to 8.59 million b/d in April from 8.51 million b/d this month, EIA said in its latest Drilling Productivity Report (DPR), which was released Monday.
EIA has been reporting consecutive month-to-month increases out of the plays since January 2017, when their total gas production was estimated at 47.51 Bcf/d, and total oil production was an estimated 4.54 million b/d.
Natural gas production increases are expected in six of the seven regions, with the Appalachian Basin forecast to produce 31.51 Bcf/d in April, up from 31.15 in March, according to the DPR. EIA also expects increases in the Bakken (2.82 Bcf/d from 2.80 Bcf/d), Eagle Ford (6.94 Bcf/d from 6.91 Bcf/d), Haynesville (10.52 Bcf/d from 10.34 Bcf/d), Niobrara (5.48 Bcf/d from 5.41 Bcf/d) and Permian (14.08 Bcf/d from 13.86 Bcf/d). The Anadarko is expected to remain nearly unchanged at 7.67 Bcf/d.
Oil production is expected to increase in five of the seven regions. EIA expects production in Appalachia next month to be 138,000 b/d (compared to 134,000 b/d this month), Bakken (1.46 million b/d from 1.44 million b/d), Eagle Ford (1.44 million b/d from 1.43 million b/d), Niobrara (753,000 b/d from 732,000 b/d), and Permian (4.18 million b/d from 4.14 million b/d). The Anadarko is expected to decline marginally month/month to 581,000 b/d, and 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 February at 8,576, an increase of 93 from January, EIA said.
The bulk of the DUCs remain in the Permian, which jumped 88 in February to 4,004, and in the Eagle Ford, which increased 16 to 1,543. Two Big Seven plays saw their DUC numbers decrease from December: the Anadarko (minus 18) and Appalachia (minus 6).
The productivity of new oil wells in the Big Seven plays is expected to increase slightly in April to 678 b/d, according to the DPR. New-well gas production per rig is also expected to increase during the month to 3.80 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.