Natural gas production from seven key U.S. onshore regions is set to drop from November to December, extending a trend of falling output that has held for most of 2020, according to data published Monday by the Energy Information Administration (EIA).
In the latest monthly release of its Drilling Productivity Report (DPR), EIA said it expects gas production from the Anadarko, Appalachian and Permian basins, as well as from the Bakken, Eagle Ford, Haynesville and Niobrara formations, to decline 679 MMcf/d month/month (m/m) to 81.496 Bcf/d in December.
The last time EIA modeled a m/m increase in natural gas output from the seven plays was from January to February of this year. The declining output coincides with a sharp pullback in the U.S. rig count amid the economic fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Oil production from the seven plays is set to fall 140,000 b/d m/m to roughly 7.5 million b/d in December, according to the DPR data.
All seven regions are expected to record drops in gas output from November to December. The Anadarko (down 140 MMcf/d), Appalachia (down 133 MMcf/d), the Permian (down 128 MMcf/d) and the Eagle Ford (down 112 MMcf/d) are projected to see the largest declines. The Niobrara (down 90 MMcf/d), Bakken (down 61 MMcf/d) and the Haynesville (down 15 MMcf/d) are also expected to trend lower.
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As for oil production, the Permian is expected to show the largest m/m drop at 37,000 b/d, with the Bakken to slide 33,000 b/d and Eagle Ford output to fall 27,000 b/d from November to December. The Niobrara (down 22,000 b/d), Anadarko (down 20,000 b/d) and Appalachia (down 1,000 b/d) are also on track to reduce output m/m, according to EIA.
New-well gas production per rig is expected to fall 287 Mcf/d from November to December across the seven regions, including a 794 Mcf/d drop in new-well per-rig output in the Eagle Ford. New-well oil production per rig is expected to increase by 6 b/d m/m despite a projected 383 b/d decline in per-rig productivity in the Bakken, the DPR data show.
Drilled but uncompleted wells (DUC) declined in each of the key regions from September to October, resulting in a cumulative m/m decrease of 86 that lowered the overall DUC backlog to 7,558. The Anadarko depleted its DUC backlog by 22, posting the largest m/m decline. The Permian, boasting by far the largest DUC inventory, saw its total drop 15 to 3,565.
The Bakken (down 13), Niobrara (down 12), Appalachia (down 10) and the Haynesville (down 1) also saw declining DUC counts from September to October.
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. EIA’s latest DPR reflects drilling data collected through October.
In its report, EIA cautioned that its measure of new-well production per rig “can become unstable during periods of rapid decreases or increases in the number of active rigs and well completions.”
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