U.S. shale oil output expected to hit record high in August: EIA

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. oil output from seven major shale formations is expected to rise by 143,000 barrels a day to a record 7.47 million barrels per day in August, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said in a monthly report on Monday.

FILE PHOTO: An oil pump jack is seen at sunset near Midland, Texas, U.S., May 3, 2017. REUTERS/Ernest Scheyder/File Photo

Production is expected to rise in all seven formations, with the largest gain of 73,000 barrels per day seen in the Permian Basin of Texas and New Mexico. All shale regions except for Appalachia are at a high, according to the data.

Meanwhile, U.S. natural gas production in the biggest shale basins was projected to increase to a record 70.5 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) in August. That would be up almost 1.1 bcfd over the July forecast and would be the seventh monthly increase in a row.

A year ago in August output in the biggest shale basins was 57.8 bcfd.

The EIA projected gas output would increase in all the big shale basins in August.

Output in the Appalachia region, the biggest shale gas play, was set to rise over 0.3 bcfd to a record high 28.9 bcfd in August. Production in Appalachia was 24.1 bcfd in the same month a year ago.

Output was also expected to hit record highs in the Anadarko, Bakken, Niobrara and Permian basins in August.

EIA said producers drilled 1,436 wells and completed 1,243 in the biggest shale basins in June, leaving total drilled but uncompleted (DUC) wells up 193 at a record high 7,943, according to data going back to December 2013.

The Permian basin accounted for the bulk of this increase, with 164 new drilled but uncompleted wells reported.

The number of drilled but uncompleted wells has been rising for 19 weeks in a row. A year ago in June, there were 5,964 DUCs.

Drilled but uncompleted wells can generally be brought online quickly if infrastructure support becomes available or if price increases.

Reporting By Jessica Resnick-Ault and Scott DiSavino; editing by Diane Craft and Rosalba O’Brien