Production from the United States' seven most prolific onshore unconventional plays will continue its lengthy streak of month-to-month increases in August, with natural gas output expected to reach 81.96 Bcf/d and oil 8.55 million b/d, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).
Total natural gas production from the seven plays -- the Anadarko, Appalachian and Permian basins, and the Bakken, Eagle Ford, Haynesville and Niobrara formations -- is expected to be 81.21 Bcf/d this month, EIA said in its latest Drilling Productivity Report (DPR), which was released Monday.
Natural gas production increases are expected in six of the seven regions in August, with the Appalachian Basin forecast to produce 32.97 Bcf/d versus 32.57 in July, according to the DPR. EIA also expects increases in the Bakken (3.02 Bcf/d from 3.00 Bcf/d), Haynesville (11.28 Bcf/d from 11.11 Bcf/d), Niobrara (5.63 Bcf/d from 5.58 Bcf/d) and Permian (14.70 Bcf/d from 14.55 Bcf/d), with the Eagle Ford increasing marginally from 6.846 Bcf/d to 6.848. The Anadarko is expected to decline slightly, from 7.57 to 7.51 Bcf/d.
At the same time, oil production is expected to increase in four of the seven regions by 49,000 b/d from an estimated 8.50 million b/d this month. EIA expects production in Appalachia next month to be 142,000 b/d (from 138,000 b/d this month), Niobrara 746,000 b/d (from 736,000 b/d), and Permian 4.21 million b/d (from 4.17 million b/d), with the Bakken increasing from 1.435 to 1.442 million b/d. The Anadarko is expected to decline month/month from 590,000 to 585,000 b/d and the Eagle Ford from 1.383 to 1.382 million b/d, while the Haynesville (43,000 b/d) is forecast to see oil production remain unchanged month/month.
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.
Drilled but uncompleted (DUC) well counts across the Big Seven ended June at 8,248, a decrease of 41 from May, EIA said.
The bulk of the DUCs are located in the Permian, which increased 42 in June to 4,002, and in the Eagle Ford, which increased by one to 1,519. Five other Big Seven plays saw their DUC numbers decrease from May: the Anadarko (minus 29), Appalachia (minus 15), Bakken (minus 15), Haynesville (minus 3) and Niobrara (minus 22).
The productivity of new oil wells in the Big Seven plays is expected to increase in August to 715 b/d, according to the DPR. At the same time, new-well gas production per rig is expected to decrease during the month to 4.05 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.