Image courtesy of Richard Croft/Wikimedia Commons.

Falling U.S. rig counts may finally be putting a dent in booming shale production.

According to a new Platt’s report, crude production at the Eagle Ford and Bakken formations, two of the country’s most prolific plays, did not post any growth in April.

The report, assembled by Platts unit Bentek Energy, found that production from the Eagle Ford Basin in Texas and the North Dakota section of the Bakken formation was “mostly flat” from March to April.

Production from the Eagle Ford Basin grew by only 1,000 barrels per day, or less than 1 percent, month over month.

Eagle Ford production averaged 1.6 million barrels per day in April, a nearly 22 percent boost over April 2014.

Bakken shale production in North Dakota grew by 2,000 barrels per day, or less than 1 percent, from March to April.

Crude production from the North Dakota section of the Bakken play hit 1.2 million barrels per day in April, a 173,000 barrel per day jump from a year go.

“The marginal growth (less than 1% from the March levels), signifies the on-going impact resulting from the suppressed oil pricing environment,” the report said.

Upstreams have been slashing rig counts and drilling spends this year after crude prices plummeted nearly 50 percent last summer.

The Eagle Ford Basin has seen its rig count fall from 213 rigs a year ago to 110 rigs as of May 29 .

The Williston Basin, home of the Bakken play, saw its count drop to 77 rigs last week, a 101 rigs loss since last year.

Despite plunging rig counts, increased well efficiency has kept production steady.

However, Bentek energy analyst Sami Yahya said production in Eagle Ford will eventually decline in the near term.

“The efficiency gains noted in the region—such as the trimming of average drill time per well from 13 to 11 days between 4Q2014 and 1Q2015—have helped in preventing oil production decline so far. Nonetheless, we do expect to see declines, however marginal, in Eagle Ford oil production as soon as next month,” Yahya said.

Production in the North Dakota section of the Bakken play is expected to continue growing but at a slower clip.

“Producers will likely continue to focus on efficiency gains and shift their rigs to the core areas, where initial production rates are more favorable,” Yahya said.


Leave a Reply