Oil production from U.S. shale plays is likely to hit a floor in 2021 with no further declines expected in a $40 to $45/bbl West Texas Intermediate (WTI) price environment, according to new analysis by Rystad Energy.

Output is expected to fall by an estimated 3.1% year/year to 7.5 million b/d in 2020 from 7.7 million b/d in 2019, the Oslo-based consultancy said Tuesday, with a further decline of 2-3% forecasted for 2021. 

“However, most of this decline already occurred throughout 2020,” researchers said.

Onshore operators’ drilling and completions (D&C) capital expenditure (capex), meanwhile, is expected to plunge by more than half to $45.2 billion in 2020, far outpacing the production decline, the Oslo-based consultancy said.

“Operators have now shifted focus...