Associated natural gas production from U.S. onshore oil plays fell in 2020, marking the first year/year decline in output since 2016, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said in a research note published Monday.

Production of associated gas from the Permian and Anadarko basins, as well as from the Bakken, Eagle Ford and Niobrara shales, fell 4.1% in 2020 to 14.2 Bcf/d as crude oil production in these regions plummeted 9.2% from 2019 levels.

Prior to 2020, associated gas production from these regions had been climbing alongside increases in oil production. EIA recorded the most rapid growth from 2016 to 2019, when associated gas output rose 6.1 Bcf/d.

Then came 2020, when the start of the Covid-19 pandemic sent shockwaves through the economy and sent crude oil prices...