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EIA June Gas Output Figures Recall TS Debby

September 10, 2012
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Tropical Storm Debby made her presence felt in June monthly production figures from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) as natural gas production from the federal offshore Gulf of Mexico (GOM) was off 6.8% from May (see NGI, Aug. 6).

Gross withdrawals from the GOM during June were 4 Bcf/d, down from 4.29 Bcf/d in May, EIA said in its Monthly Natural Gas Production Report. However, Louisiana onshore production stepped in to take up some of the slack, growing by 3% from May's revised 8.32 Bcf/d to 8.57 Bcf/d in June. In the Pelican State new wells came online and production resumed from some wells that had been shut in, EIA said.

In late June Debby caused the shut-in of up to 44.1% of daily oil production and 34.8% of daily gas production in the GOM, according to the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (see NGI, July 2).

The GOM's was the largest production decrease and Louisiana's was the largest increase cited by EIA in its latest monthly report. Overall, Lower 48 production declined by 0.18 Bcf/d, or 0.2%, to 72.37 Bcf/d during June from May levels when production from the federal offshore Gulf of Mexico is included, EIA said.

However, energy analyst Stephen Smith of Stephen Smith Energy Associates looked at EIA's figures for Lower 48 onshore production (by excluding the federal offshore volumes) and found an increase.

"Lower 48 onshore gross production was 68.37 Bcf/d, which was a 0.11 Bcf/d increase versus May 2012," Smith wrote in his latest "Monthly Gas Outlook" published last Monday. "Despite this one-month increase, the overall pattern over the eight months since last November is one of near-flat production. Last November, Lower 48 onshore production was 7.5 Bcf/d higher than its year-ago-centered three-month average; by March 2012, this spread had dropped to 5.0 Bcf/d higher-than-year-ago, and by June 2012, the year-over-year difference had declined to 4.0 Bcf/d."

According to EIA, new shale wells accounted for a 0.12 Bcf/d, or 0.5%, increase in production from "other" states tracked by EIA. This category includes the Marcellus, where it is well known that plenty of drilled wells remain to be completed. Other states produced 22.6 Bcf/d, up from May's revised 22.48 Bcf/d, EIA said. New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Wyoming and Alaska all posted declines ranging from 0.4% in Texas to 7.6% in Alaska where gas production is reinjected.

"The flat monthly production data for the November-through-June period occurred despite a 53% decline in the rig count over the same period," Smith wrote. "This steady production rate is being achieved by the time-delayed completion of the large inventory of drilled but uncompleted wells that accumulated during the horizontal gas drilling boom which occurred leading up to November 2011."

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