U.S. Shale Oil Output to Rise 13,000 bpd in May, EIA Says

NEW YORK (Reuters) — U.S. oil output from seven major shale formations is expected to rise for a third straight month, climbing by about 13,000 bpd in May to 7.61 MMbpd, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said on Monday.

The biggest increase is set to come from the Permian, the top-producing basin in the country, where output is expected to rise by 52,000 bpd to about 4.47 MMbpd, the highest since April 2020, the EIA said in a monthly forecast.

Output from other top producing basins such as the Bakken and Eagle Ford are expected to slide by 12,000 bpd and 9,000 bpd, respectively. Production in the Bakken basin of North Dakota and Montana is expected to drop to 1.1 MMbpd, the lowest since July 2020, according to the data.

Oil producers in the United States have begun to slowly add drilling rigs as prices rebound, but tepid demand recovery and investor pressure to reduce debt have kept companies from rushing to increase production.

Natural gas production from the major shale basins was expected to decline about 0.1 Bcfd to 82.8 Bcfd in May, according to EIA's drilling productivity report.

That compares with a monthly record high of 86.9 Bcfd in December 2019.

Gas output in Appalachia, the biggest shale gas basin, was expected to decline 0.1 Bcfd to 34.1 Bcfd in May, its lowest since October 2020. That compares with a monthly record of 35.2 Bcfd in December 2020.

If correct, that would put output in Appalachia down for a record fifth month in a row, according to EIA data going back to 2007.

Gas output in the Haynesville, meanwhile, rose 0.1 Bcfd to a record 12.2 Bcfd in May.

EIA said producers drilled 464 wells and completed 641 in the biggest shale basins in March. That left total drilled but uncompleted (DUC) wells down 177 to 6,912, their lowest since November 2018.

That was the most for drilled and completed wells since April 2020 and put DUCs down for a record ninth month in a row, according to EIA data going back to 2014.

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