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Brace For A Slowdown In These Key Shale Basins

U.S. oil production in some of the most prolific shale basins is set to slow next month, according to new data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) released on Monday. 

Oil production in the Permian basin - the most prolific of the shale plays, is set to increase from 4.694 million bpd this month to 4.742 million bpd next month - a 48,000 bpd increase. It represents the smallest increase since July.  

The Bakken - the second largest shale basin will see oil production increase from 1.523 million bpd to 1.526 million bpd next month - an increase of just 3,000 bpd. Production in the Eagle Ford, the region with the third most production, is set to decrease in January, falling from 1.366 mbpd in December to 1.357 mbpd in January. 

Overall, though, according to EIA data, production from the seven highest-producing shale plays - the Anadarko, Appalachia, Bakken, Eagle Ford, Haynesville, Niobrara, and Permian - is expected to increase 30,000 bpd next month. This is a significant increase from the last Drilling Productivity Report, which showed a 10,000 bpd increase from November to December and a 18,000 bpd increase from October to November. 

In the meantime, signs of a slowdown have already been taking their toll on local economies in America’s key shale venues. Hotels are looking emptier, employers are getting pickier and workers are enjoying less overtime, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. All that, despite the fact that earlier this year, demand for fracking-related parts and equipment in the Midland area was so high that suppliers thought they were on the fast-track to big riches. Things change quickly. 

Earlier this month, Rystad Energy predicted that US shale will continue to grow, even if oil prices continue to fall. 

By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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