U.S. shale oil output to rise 29,000 bpd to record 9.14 million bpd in January: EIA

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. oil output from seven major shale formations is expected to rise about 29,000 barrels per day (bpd) in January to a record 9.14 million bpd, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said in a monthly forecast on Monday.

FILE PHOTO: Pump jacks operate at sunset in Midland, Texas, U.S., February 11, 2019. Picture taken February 11, 2019. REUTERS/Nick Oxford

Output at the largest formation, the Permian Basin of Texas and New Mexico, is expected to rise 48,000 bpd to a new record 4.74 million bpd, the smallest increase since July.

Production from North Dakota and Montana’s Bakken region is expected to rise by about 3,000 bpd to a fresh peak of about 1.53 million bpd. That would be the smallest increase since production from the region declined in September, the data showed.

The agency forecast production declines in the Eagle Ford and Anadarko basins.

The Permian and Bakken regions have been the biggest drivers of a shale boom that has helped make the United States the biggest oil producer in the world, ahead of Saudi Arabia and Russia.

However, the rate of growth has slowed as independent oil producers cut spending on new drilling and completions and focus more on earnings growth.

The oil rig count, an early indicator of future output, has already declined for a record 12 months in a row.

Separately, U.S. natural gas output in the big shale basins was projected to increase to a record 85.6 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) in January.

That would be up less than 0.1 bcfd over the December forecast, its smallest monthly increase since January 2019 when production in the big shale basins declined.

Growth was slowing as the number of rigs in each region has declined since the start of the year.

Output in the Appalachia region, the biggest U.S. shale gas formation, was set to decline less than 0.1 bcfd to 33.4 bcfd in January from a record 33.5 in December.

Most of the increase was in the Permian where gas output is expected to jump 0.2 bcfd to a record 17.1 bcfd in January.

EIA said producers drilled 1,069 wells, the least since November 2017, and completed 1,200 in the biggest shale basins in November, leaving total drilled but uncompleted (DUC) wells down 131 to 7,574, the lowest since October 2018.

Reporting by Devika Krishna Kumar and Scott DiSavino in New York; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Matthew Lewis