EIA: Drilling Productivity to Climb 80,000 Barrels a Day in March

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The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Monday released its February report on drilling productivity in seven key oil and gas producing regions of the U.S. Overall oil production is projected to rise by 80,000 barrels a day in March at 4.873 million barrels per day, some 80,000 barrels a day above January production. Total production in February is forecast to reach 4.79 million barrels a day, an increase of 56,000 barrels a day.

In January the number of drilled but uncompleted (DUC) wells rose by 92 to a total of 5,381. The largest gain came in the Permian Basin with 84 new DUC wells.

The only March oil production declines are forecast for the Utica Shale play (down 2,000 barrels a day) and the Bakken play in North Dakota and Montana (down 18,000 barrels a day). The Marcellus shale is expected to increase daily production by 1,000 barrels, Eagle Ford production is expected to rise by 14,000 and the Niobrara is expected to post a gain of 15,000 barrels. Production from the Permian Basin is forecast to rise by 70,000 barrels a day.

Natural gas production is expected to rise by a total of 524 million cubic feet per day with Eagle Ford production down 25 million cubic feet per day. Production in the Marcellus play is expected to rise by 192 million cubic feet in March. Utica shale gas production is forecast to rise by 62 million cubic feet per day with Haynesville gas production up 109 million cubic feet per day and Niobrara production up 55 million cubic feet per day.

WTI crude oil for March delivery closed Friday at $53.86 a barrel, and traded down about 1.8% late Monday afternoon at $52.92.

Natural gas for March delivery traded down nearly 3% at $2.95 per million BTUs, down 8 cents from Friday’s closing price.