Cumulative natural gas production from seven key U.S. onshore regions is set to fall by 472 MMcf/d from January to February, extending a downtrend that goes back to early 2020, according to updated projections published Tuesday by the Energy Information Administration (EIA).

production

In its latest Drilling Productivity Report, EIA said it expects the Anadarko, Appalachian and Permian basins, as well as the Bakken, Eagle Ford, Haynesville and Niobrara formations, to produce 80.604 Bcf/d in February, down from 81.076 Bcf/d in January.

The Haynesville Shale, which straddles East Texas and North Louisiana, is the only Lower 48 basin that is expected to grow output over January, EIA said. The shale play is forecast to increase output in February by 55 MMcf/d month/month (m/m) to 11.382 Bcf/d.

The other six regions are on track to see declining production next month, according to the agency. The largest m/m declines are expected in the Anadarko, where output is set to slide 142 MMcf/d to 5.777 Bcf/d, and in Appalachia, where production is seen dropping 118 MMcf/d m/m to 33.837 Bcf/d.

EIA last modeled a m/m increase in natural gas output from the seven regions in early 2020. Since then, the DPR data has shown a continuous decline in output, which has coincided with a dramatic reduction in the U.S. rig count amid the economic fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Oil production from the seven key regions is also on track to decline from January to February, dropping 89,000 b/d to 7.522 million b/d, according to the latest DPR. The Bakken is on track to post the largest m/m decline, falling a projected 20,000 b/d to 1.194 million b/d in February. The Anadarko and Eagle Ford are each expected to lose 19,000 b/d in output, dropping to 342,000 b/d and 998,000 b/d, respectively.

Permian output is also expected to ease lower m/m, declining 13,000 b/d to 4.320 million b/d, DPR data show.

Meanwhile, the backlog of drilled but uncompleted wells (DUC) shrank across each of the seven regions as 2020 drew to a close, dropping 145 from November to December to fall to 7,298. The Niobrara posted the largest drop in DUCs m/m, declining by 38 to 442 as of December. The Permian continued to boast the largest DUC inventory at 3,524 for December, down 21 m/m.

EIA expects new-well natural gas production per rig to fall 151 Mcf/d to just under 7 MMcf/d in February. New-well natural gas production per rig is set to fall in the Anadarko (down 143 Mcf/d), Bakken (down 54 Mcf/d), Eagle Ford (down 75 Mcf/d), Niobrara (down 257 Mcf/d) and Permian (down 68 Mcf/d).

Appalachia new-well production per rig is expected to increase 273 Mcf/d to 27.646 MMcf/d, while Haynesville productivity is expected to increase 2 Mcf/d to 11.408 MMcf/d.

EIA projects new-well oil production per rig of 1,041 b/d across the seven regions in February, a 17 b/d m/m decline. The largest decline is expected from the Niobrara, where new-well production is expected to drop 81 b/d m/m.

The DPR uses recent data on the total number of drilling rigs in operation, along with estimates of drilling productivity and estimated changes in production from existing wells to model changes in production from the seven key regions.