UPDATE 3-U.S. shale oil output to drop 46,000 bpd to 7.46 mln bpd in April -EIA

(Adds gas and drilling data)

NEW YORK, March 15 (Reuters) - U.S. oil output from seven major shale formations is expected to decline by about 46,000 barrels per day (bpd) in April to about 7.46 million bpd, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said in a monthly forecast on Monday.

Output at nearly every formation is expected to fall and the biggest declines are expected to come from the Eagle Ford and Niobrara basins, where production is expected to drop by about 15,000 bpd in each basin compared with March, the data showed.

Output from the Permian, the top producing basin in the country, is expected to rise for a second straight month in April, climbing by about 11,000 bpd to 4.3 million bpd.

The agency last month estimated output from the Permian would drop in March but in the latest month revised its estimate to an increase of about 376,260 bpd, the biggest rise on record.

Oil producers in the United States have begun to slowly add drilling rigs as prices rebound, but tepid demand recovery and investor pressure to reduce debt has kept companies from rushing to drill new wells.

Production in the Bakken basin of North Dakota and Montana is expected to decline by about 12,000 bpd to 1.1 million bpd, the lowest since July.

Natural gas production from the major shale basins was expected to decline about 0.3 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) to 82.6 bcfd in April, according to EIA’s drilling productivity report.

That compares with a monthly record high of 86.9 bcfd in December 2019.

Gas output in Appalachia, the biggest shale gas basin, was expected to decline 0.1 bcfd to 34.1 bcfd in April, its lowest since October 2020. That compares with a monthly record of 35.2 bcfd in December 2020.

Gas output in the Haynesville rose 0.1 bcfd to 12.1 bcfd in April, its highest since hitting a record 12.2 bcfd in May 2020.

EIA said producers drilled 380 wells and completed 482 in the biggest shale basins in February. That left total drilled but uncompleted (DUC) wells down 102 to 7,086, their lowest since November 2018. (Reporting by Devika Krishna Kumar and Scott DiSavino in New York Editing by Chris Reese, Marguerita Choy and Sonya Hepinstall)