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Commodities

U.S. shale output drop seen for 12th straight month in November: EIA

(Reuters) - U.S. shale oil production was expected to fall for a 12th consecutive month in November, according to a U.S. government forecast released on Monday, on the back of a two-year global rout in oil markets.

A natural gas flare on an oil well pad burns as the sun sets outside Watford City, North Dakota January 21, 2016. REUTERS/Andrew Cullen

November oil production was expected to fall by 30,000 barrels per day to 4.43 million bpd, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s drilling productivity report, the lowest output since March 2014.

The biggest decline was in the Eagle Ford in Texas, which was set to drop by 35,000 bpd to 947,000 bpd. In North Dakota, oil production in the Bakken was set to drop by 21,000 bpd to 946,000 bpd.

While oil futures are trading at less than half their value of over $107 a barrel in mid-2014, they have recovered from a 13-year low near $26 in February, recently fetching $50 a barrel. That has allowed drillers to start increasing production in the Permian, the largest U.S. shale basin.

Permian output from West Texas and eastern New Mexico was set to rise by 30,000 bpd to a record high over 2 million bpd, its third monthly increase in a row, according to EIA data going back to 2007.

Total natural gas production, meanwhile, was forecast to decline for a seventh consecutive month in November to 46.0 billion cubic feet per day, the lowest level since July 2015, the EIA said.

That would be down almost 0.2 bcfd from October, making it the smallest monthly decline since July, it noted.

The biggest regional decline was expected to be in the Eagle Ford, down almost 0.2 bcfd from October to 5.6 bcfd in November, the lowest level of output in the basin since November 2013, the EIA said.

Output in the Marcellus formation, the biggest U.S. shale gas field, meanwhile, was expected to rise by almost 0.1 bcfd from October to 18.2 bcfd in November. That would be its first increase since July.

EIA also said producers drilled 506 wells and completed 533 in the biggest shale basins in September, leaving total drilled but uncompleted (DUC) wells at 5,069, the least since January 2015.

The only region to gain DUCs in September was the Permian, which rose for a third month in a row, gaining 51, to a total of 1,378, its highest since at least December 2013, EIA said.

Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli and Lisa Shumaker

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