Natural gas and oil and production from seven of the United States' most prolific onshore unconventional plays is expected to increase in February compared with January, but at a markedly slower pace than in the recent past, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Total natural gas production from the seven plays is expected to be 85.99 Bcf/d in February, compared with 85.92 Bcf/d this month, EIA said in its latest Drilling Productivity Report (DPR), which was released Tuesday. Declines in gas production are expected in the Anadarko (7.50 Bcf/d, compared with 7.64 Bcf/d), Appalachia (33.35 Bcf/d, compared with 33.40 Bcf/d), Eagle Ford (6.80 Bcf/d, compared with 6.84 Bcf/d), and Niobrara (5.63 Bcf/d, compared with 5.64 Bcf/d).

Total oil production from the Anadarko, Appalachian and Permian basins, and the Bakken, Eagle Ford, Haynesville and Niobrara formations, is expected to increase by only 22,000 b/d in February from January, EIA said.

EIA said it expects the plays to produce 9.20 million b/d in February, with increases month/month from the Permian (4.80 million b/d, compared with 4.76 million b/d in January) and the Bakken (1.53 million b/d, compared with 1.52 million b/d). Oil production from Appalachia (166,000 b/d) and Haynesville (40,000 b/d) is expected to remain flat, while declines are forecast for the Anadarko (535,000 b/d, compared with 551,000 b/d in January), Eagle Ford (1.37 million b/d, compared with 1.38 million b/d) and Niobrara (761,000 b/d, compared with 766,000 b/d).

EIA has reported consecutive month-to-month increases out of the seven plays since January 2017, when total gas production was about 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 December at 7,573, a decrease of 50 from November, EIA said. DUCs decreased in three plays, with the Anadarko down by 54 to 632, Appalachia down by 21 to 427 and the Eagle Ford down by 15 to 1,427. The Bakken added 18 DUCs to reach 813, the Haynesville added six to 214, the Niobrara added two to 448, and the Permian added 14 to reach 3,612.

The productivity of new gas wells in the Big Seven plays is expected to increase by 49 Mcf/d in February to 4.14 MMcf/d. New well oil production per rig is expected to increase by 8 b/d during the month to 848 b/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.