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U.S. Oil Output From Top Shale Regions to Rise in May, EIA Says

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U.S. oil output from top shale-producing regions will rise in May to the highest level in five months, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said in its monthly Drilling Productivity Report on Monday.Production from the top basins will climb by more than 16,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 9.86 million bpd, the strongest output since December, the EIA said.

U.S. shale oil production, which represents about three-quarters of total U.S. oil output, is rising due to improved well productivity and rebounding activity after a deep freeze in early 2024 forced companies to shut in production.

Oil output in the Permian basin, the largest U.S. shale field straddling West Texas and New Mexico, is due to rise by about 11,500 bpd to 6.17 million bpd, the third highest monthly output on record, the EIA said.

Production in the Eagle Ford in southeastern Texas was forecast to climb to 1.16 million bpd, the highest since November, the EIA said. In the Bakken, output was set to increase by 4,800 bpd to 1.25 million bpd, the strongest since December.

Total natural gas output in the big shale basins will ease to a four-month low of 99.9 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) in May from 100.2 bcfd in April, the EIA projected.

That compares with a monthly record gas output high of 102.3 bcfd in the big shale basins in December 2023.

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U.S. gas production is expected to decline in 2024 as producers reduce drilling activities after prices fell to a 3-1/2-year low in February.

In Appalachia, the biggest U.S. shale gas basin spanning Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia, output is set to slide to a seven-month low of 36.1 bcfd in May from 36.2 bcfd in April. Appalachia output hit a record 37.2 bcfd in December 2023.

However, the EIA expects new Appalachia gas well production per rig to rise to a 28-month high of 28.2 per million cubic feet per day (mmcfd) in May.

If correct, that would be a 15th straight monthly increase in new well production per rig, which peaked at 34.4 mmcfd in Appalachia in December 2020.

Total drilled but uncompleted (DUC) oil and gas wells rose by 9 to 4,522 in March.

(Reporting by Laura Sanicola; editing by Jonathan Oatis and Marguerita Choy)

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