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Irina Slav

Irina Slav

Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.

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Permian Production To Break 4 Million Bpd In March

Crude oil production in the Permian is set to rise above 4 million bpd for the first time in history next month, the Energy Information Administration said in the latest release of its Drilling Productivity Report.

This month, the fastest-growing shale play in the United States is producing an estimated average of 3.98 million barrels per day, which is set to expand by 43,000 bpd in March, to 4.024 million bpd. This will in turn push the total shale oil output of the United States up by 84,000 bpd to 8.398 million bpd in March from 8.314 million bpd this month.

Growth in production from other shale plays will also help, of course. In Niobrara, the EIA expects this to grow by 16,000 bpd between February and March to 713,000 barrels per day. The Bakken will contribute 13,000 bpd to the national production increase, to 1.452 million bpd in March.

The Permian is clearly an outperformer among shale plays: between 2017 and 2018, crude oil production shot up by as much as 860,000 bpd to 2.76 million bpd. However, this is to a large extent because of the fact it is a newly tapped play unlike legacy regions such as the Eagle Ford and the Bakken. The Permian has been the biggest contributor to the inexorable rise in U.S. oil production and this year it will keep this role, with the national total seen rising to 12.4 million bpd this year, according to the latest Short-Term Energy Outlook by EIA.

The Permian also has yet to catch up to the legacy plays in terms of new well production rates. This month, the average daily output from a new well was 598 bpd, which is set to rise to 603 bpd next month, However, it compares with 1,452 bpd in Bakken, to grow to 1,458 bpd in March, and 1,335 bpd per new well per rig in the Eagle Ford, set to grow to 1,337 bpd in March.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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  • Mamdouh Salameh on February 20 2019 said:
    A rise of 84,000 barrels a day (b/d) in the Permian shale oil production would have been hardly noticeable if not for a spate of recent authoritative reports talking of a slowdown in shale oil production in the Permian which is considered the best shale play in the United States. Even this small increase is due to a large extent to the fact that the Permian is a newly tapped play unlike other plays like the Eagle Ford and the Bakken.

    And yet like other shale pays, the Permian is afflicted by the Achilles Heel of shale oil, namely a steep depletion rate ranging from 70%-90% in the first year of production necessitating the drilling of thousands of wells just to maintain production.

    The bulk of US shale oil production has recently been coming from the Permian particularly after the steep decline of both the Bakken and the Eagle Ford shale plays in 2016. However, the Permian production is bound to plateau soon. According to OPEC (2018 World Oil Outlook), the Permian basin oil production curve is likely to flatten by 2020 with growth slowing down from 860,000 b/d in 2018 to a mere 230,000 b/d barrels by 2020. The Permian is already facing a production slowdown resulting from a decline in drilling, well productivity and rig count. Such developments not only definitely argue against any pronounced rise in US oil production in 2019 and beyond, but they also confirm what a pioneer of the US shale oil industry Harold Hamm and the world’s largest oilfield services company ‘Schlumberger’ and many others have been saying about the uncertain outlook for US shale oil output in 2019. An eventual plateau in Permian oil supply will have profound implications for long term oil prices.

    Yet, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) is projecting that US oil production will average 12.4 million barrels a day (mbd) in 2019 compared with 10.9 mbd in 2018 and averaging 13.2 mbd by 2020.

    The US shale oil industry could become a diminished presence in the global oil market if not a thing of the past within 5-10 years.

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Visiting Professor of Energy Economics at ESCP Europe Business School, London
  • Big Rig on February 20 2019 said:
    Your title is incorrect. It's jumping TO over 4 million bpd. If it jumped BY 4 million bpd oil would be worthless.
  • Mamdouh Salameh on February 20 2019 said:
    In addition to my comments above, the title of your article should read:" Permian Production to Jump to over 4 Million Bpd in March".

    Your title "Permian Production to Jump by Over 4 Million Bpd in March" gives the false impression that the production will rise by 4 million barrels a day although the text of your article indicates that the increase is a mere 48,000 barrels a day.

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Visiting Professor of Energy Economics at ESCP Europe Business School, London

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