18 January 2017, London — U.S. shale production is set to snap a three-month decline in February, the U.S. government said on Tuesday, as energy firms boost drilling activity with crude prices hovering near 18-month highs.
The month-on-month increase in production would be the first since October and the third rise in a year, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s drilling productivity report.
February production will edge up 40,750 barrels per day (b/d) to 4.748 million b/d, the EIA said. In January, it was expected to drop by 5,900 b/d.
In the Permian Basin in West Texas and eastern New Mexico, the output is set to rise by 53,000 b/d to 2.180 million b/d, the data showed.
North Dakota’s Bakken oil production was set to drop by 20,000 b/d to 978,000 b/d. Eagle Ford oil output from Texas was set to drop by 3,000 b/d to 1.042 million b/d.
U.S. crude futures were trading around $53 a barrel on Tuesday, not far below 18-month highs set earlier in January, as members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and non-OPEC countries followed through on plans to cut output at the start of the year in an effort to boost prices and cut the global oversupply. [O/R]
Total U.S. natural gas production was forecast to increase in February for a third month in four to 48.0 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd), the EIA said. That would be up over 0.3 bcfd from January.
The biggest regional decline was expected to be in the Eagle Ford, down almost 0.1 bcfd to 5.5 bcfd in February, the lowest level of output in the basin since November 2013, the EIA said.
Output in the Marcellus Formation in Pennsylvania and West Virginia was set to rise by almost 0.2 bcfd to 18.6 bcfd in February, a fourth consecutive increase.
EIA also said producers drilled 712 wells and completed 545 in the biggest shale basins in December, leaving total drilled but uncompleted wells (DUCs) up 167 at 5,379, the most since April.
*Scott DiSavino; Editing: Jonathan Oatis & Bill Rigby – Reuters