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U.S. shale oil output to drop 139,000 bpd to 7.51 million bpd in December

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NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. oil output from shale formations is expected to decline by about 139,000 barrels per day (bpd) in December to about 7.51 million bpd, the lowest level since June, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said in a monthly forecast on Monday.

Output at nearly all seven major formations is expected to fall, except the Haynesville region, where output is forecast to remain largely steady. The biggest decline is expected to come from the Permian basin of Texas and New Mexico, where production is expected to drop by about 37,000 bpd, the biggest decline since May, to 4.3 million bpd, the data showed.

The second biggest drop is forecast to be in the Bakken, where output is expected to decline for the third straight month, by about 32,500 bpd, to 1.13 million bpd.

Overall shale output is expected to decline for the third straight month, and by the most since May, when producers slashed production by about 1.6 million bpd to offset a plunge in global oil demand due to the coronavirus pandemic.

However, output is slowly recovering as hopes for a vaccine prop up oil prices CLc1LCOc1.

U.S. oil rigs rose 10 to 236 last week, their highest since May, data from energy services firm Baker Hughes Co showed.

Natural gas production is also expected to fall to the lowest level since June, at 81.5 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd), a drop of 0.7 bcfd.

The biggest drop was forecast in the Anadarko region where production is expected to fall by 0.14 bcfd. Production is expected to decline in all 7 regions in December.

EIA said producers drilled 316 wells and completed 402 in the biggest shale basins in October. That left total drilled but uncompleted (DUC) wells down 86 to 7,558, the 3rd consecutive monthly decline and the lowest since December 2018.

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