SHARE

U.S. shale production continued to tick upwards in February despite months of price volatility and falling rig counts, a new report by Platts said.

Oil production from shale plays in North Dakota and Texas rose by 19,000 barrels per day, or about 1 percent, according to a report released Wednesday by Bentek Energy, an analytics and forecasting unit of Platts.

Total U.S. crude production grew by 1.5 million barrels per day from February 2014 to February 2015.

Crude production at the Eagle Ford shale play in Texas averaged 1.6 million barrels per day in February, up 31 percent from the same period last year.

Production at the North Dakota section of the Bakken shale formation in the Williston Basin averaged 1.2 million bpd in February, a 276,000 bpd jump over the previous year.

“While rig count numbers in both basins have been deteriorating steadily since November 2014, production has not followed suit and remains relatively flat,” Bentek Energy manager of energy analysis Catherine Bernardo said.

Last week the U.S. rig count fell for the fourteenth straight week.

The number of U.S. oil rigs dropped to 866 during the week ending on March 13, a 56 rig loss from the previous week and 684 rig drop from the same period last year, according to Houston-based Baker Hughes.

Despite falling rig counts production continues to grow as well drilling and completion becomes more efficient.

“Producers are countering the decline in rig count with a drive for efficiency gains in drilling and completion techniques and an increased focus on their more productive acreage,” Bernardo said.

Platts also found that producers in Eagle Ford and Bakken are still seeing about a 20 percent economic return in those plays despite falling oil prices, a sufficient enough return to hold production at current levels.

“Producers in the Eagle Ford and Bakken are still incentivized to maintain their production levels thanks to sufficient economic returns in those plays, which currently average around 20 percent.

Crude produced from the Eagle Ford play has ranged between $46.22 per barrel and $57.76 per barrel since the start of 2015, with an average price of $57.76 per barrel.

The price of Bakken crude has fallen 11 percent since January 1, with an average price of $46.86 per barrel.

“Prices of Bakken shale oil have been on a downward trajectory since mid-February, while prices of Eagle Ford shale oil have fluctuated,” associate editor of Americas crude oil Jacqueline Puig Platts said.