Natural gas and oil production are projected to increase in nearly all of the nation’s shale plays and tight oil formations through September, particularly in the Utica Shale, now a separate line item of the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) Drilling Productivity Report (DPR).
According to the latest DPR, released Tuesday, the Utica is projected to have the largest increase in gas production among all seven regions analyzed, in terms of overall production (6.7%) and the amount produced month over month (m/m) on average by one rig deployed there (148 Mcf/d).
The EIA said overall natural gas production is forecast to increase 1.2% (534 MMcf/d) between August and September, rising from 41,418 to 41,952 MMcf/d. The Marcellus Shale is projected to account for nearly half (47.2%, 252 MMcf/d) of the overall increase during that time frame, climbing 1.6% from 15,632 to 15,884 MMcf/d.
Gas production is also forecast to increase in the Eagle Ford and Utica shales and the Permian Basin between August and September, accounting for 15.7%, 14.6% and 12.4% portions of the overall increase in production, respectively. Eagle Ford production is forecast to increase 1.3% (84 MMcf/d — from 6,506 to 6,590 MMcf/d), while the Utica is to climb 6.1% (78 MMcf/d — from 1,270 to 1,348 MMcf/d) and the Permian is to go up 1.1% (66 MMcf/d — from 5,645 to 5,707 MMcf/d).
Smaller increases are projected in the Niobrara and the Bakken shales, accounting for 8.6% and 4.3% of the overall production increase, respectively. Niobrara production is forecast to increase 1% (46 MMcf/d — from 4,448 to 4,494 MMcf/d), while the Bakken is projected to climb 1.7% (23 MMcf/d — from 1,325 to 1,348 MMcf/d).
The Haynesville Shale is the only region with a projected decline in gas production between August and September, but only a slight one. The EIA projects gas production there will decline 0.16% (11 MMcf/d — from 6,592 to 6,581 MMcf/d).
Overall oil production is forecast to increase 2% (99,000 b/d) between August and September, from about 4.77 million to 4.87 million b/d. More than two-thirds of the increase is projected to come from the Permian and the Eagle Ford combined. Separately, the plays account for 38.4% and 31.3% of the overall boost, respectively.
Oil production in the Permian is projected to increase by 2.3% (38,000 b/d — from 1.68 million to 1.72 million b/d) between August and September, while in the Eagle Ford is projected to climb 2.1% (31,000 b/d — from 1.48 million to 1.51 million b/d). The Bakken Shale is also projected to have a sizeable increase in production during the same time frame, going up 1.8% (20,000 b/d — from 1.12 million to 1.14 million b/d).
Other plays projected to post increases in oil production between August and September include the Niobrara (up 1.7%, 6,000 b/d — from 350,000 to 356,000 b/d), the Utica (up 8.1%, 3,000 b/d — from 37,000 to 40,000 b/d) and the Marcellus (up 2%, 1,000 b/d — from 50,000 to 51,000 b/d).
As with gas production, the Haynesville is the only play that the EIA projects will not see an increase in oil production between August and September. Oil production there is expected to remain flat, at 54,000 b/d.
Broken down by play, the EIA projects an average rig deployed in the Utica will produce an additional 148 Mcf/d, on a m/m basis, between August and September. The Haynesville was second at 92 Mcf/d, followed by the Marcellus (63 Mcf/d), Niobrara (31 Mcf/d), Eagle Ford (12 Mcf/d), Bakken (8 Mcf/d) and Permian (6 Mcf/d).
In terms of oil production, the EIA projects an average rig deployed in the Eagle Ford and the Niobrara will each produce an additional 8 b/d of oil, again on a m/m basis, between August and September. The Utica came in a close third at 7 b/d, followed by the Bakken (6 b/d), Permian (3 b/d) and Marcellus (1 b/d). No increase in oil was forecast in the Haynesville, which is a gassy play.
Collectively, the seven regions analyzed by the EIA for its DPR account for 95% of domestic oil production growth and all domestic natural gas production growth between 2011 and 2013.
The EIA announced that it would begin tracking the Utica as a new DPR line item, beginning with the August report, at its energy conference on July 15. The idea for starting a separate Utica item, as well as an Appalachian Basin listing that would combine the Utica and the Marcellus, was also discussed at an industry conference in June (see Shale Daily, Aug. 1; June 4).
Launched last October, the initial version of the DPR covered six regions — the Bakken, Eagle Ford, Haynesville, Marcellus and Niobrara shales and the Permian Basin — and was designed to provide region-specific data on rig efficiency, new well productivity, decline rates at previously existing wells and overall production trends (see Shale Daily, Oct. 22, 2013).
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