U.S. shale output seen hitting record 6.95 million bpd in April - EIA

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. crude production from major shale formations is expected to rise by 131,000 barrels per day in April from the previous month to a record high 6.95 million bpd, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said in a monthly productivity report on Monday.

That expected increase would top the 105,000 bpd increase in March from the previous month to what was then expected to be a record high of 6.82 million bpd, the EIA said.

The expected increase in April is largely driven by gains in oil production in the Permian and Eagle Ford formations, according to the report.

U.S. shale oil production is seen as potentially disrupting the global supply balance, as increases offset cuts by producers including members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and Russia. [O/R]

Oil production is expected to rise by 80,000 bpd in the Permian to a record high 3.2 million barrels a day in April, according to EIA data going back to 2007.

The Eagle Ford was expected to see gains of 23,000 bpd to 1.3 million bpd in April, the highest since March 2016.

Meanwhile, U.S. natural gas production was projected to increase to a record 66.1 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) in April. That would be up almost 1 bcfd over the March forecast and would be the 15th monthly increase in a row.

A year ago in April output was just 55.2 bcfd.

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

Output in the Appalachia region, the biggest shale gas play, was set to rise by almost 0.4 bcfd to a record high of 27.6 bcfd in April. Production in Appalachia was 23.3 bcfd in the same month a year ago.

EIA said producers drilled 1,267 wells and completed 1,157 in the biggest shale basins in February, leaving total drilled but uncompleted wells up 110 at a record high 7,601, according to data going back to January 2013.

Reporting by Scott DiSavino; editing by Diane Craft and Chizu Nomiyama