The federal forecast of U.S. shale production is sinking again for the third month in a row, but the decline is still just a thin layer off the top.
Daily oil production at the nation’s six biggest shale plays is set to slip by 91,000 barrels from June to July, the Energy Information Administration says. That’s roughly 2 percent of the 5.48 million U.S. barrels anticipated next month, hardly the kind of decline oil-industry stakeholders had expected for after drillers sidelined nearly 1,000 oil-drilling rigs in the last six and a half months.
“It’s a pretty resilient industry,” said Bill Herbert, an analyst at Simmons & Co. International in Houston. And given the billions that oil producers have raised this year — they still have generous equity investors waiting in the wings — it’s not inconceivable that crude production could start to rise again early next year, especially with oil prices flirting with the $60-to-$65 a barrel range, Herbert said.
“If you send the right price signals, the oil producers are going to start reinvesting, and production will respond,” he said.
Oil traders are watching the shale industry and Baker Hughes’ U.S. rig count closely to see whether the nation’s production, which helped feed a glut of crude and send oil prices plummeting in the last 12 months, will ease up enough to lift prices again. Despite the falling rig count, not much has changed on the production side of the business, largely because oil companies are moving rigs to the sweetest shale acreage and because their rigs are more efficient, analysts say.
So far, falling production from older, deteriorating wells is outpacing the output from newly drilled wells, especially in the Eagle Ford Shale in South Texas, which is expected to see daily production decline by 49,000 barrels by July. Daily output at the Bakken Shale in North Dakota and the Niobrara formation in Colorado, Nebraska and surrounding states is supposed to fall by 29,000 and 17,000 barrels a day, respectively.
The Permian Basin in West Texas, so far the nation’s stalwart oil patch, still pumping out adding crude, is slipping close the point at which its net production will be in the red. Its month-over-month production is expected to be 3,000 barrels a day by July, the EIA estimates.
West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark crude, fell 99 cents to $58.14 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The international standard, Brent, dipped 62 cents to $62.69 on the ICE Futures Europe.
Meanwhile, the nation’s natural gas production is shrinking in all but the Utica Shale in Ohio. From Texas to Pennsylvania, old wells are expected to bring down gas production by 221 million cubic feet a day, or 0.5 percent of the nation’s gas output.http://fuelfix.com/blog/2015/06/08/u-s-shale-production-could-fall-again-in-july-eia-says/#31744101=0