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U.S. Shale Oil Production Beats Estimates Again

Crude oil production in the U.S. shale patch will hit 7.59 million bpd next month, the Energy Information Administration said in its latest Drilling Productivity Report. This is 79,000 bpd more than this month’s estimated production.

The biggest increase, once again, will come from the Permian, where producers will add 31,000 bpd to overall daily production from the current 3.427 million bpd to 3.458 million bpd.

The second-largest contributor to the monthly increase will be the Eagle Ford, where the EIA estimates production will rise by 16,000 bpd to 1.449 million bpd in October.

Earlier this month, in its Short-Term Energy Outlook, the EIA reported preliminary production estimates suggest the United States had overtaken Russia as the world’s top crude oil producer, pumping 10.9 million bpd on average in August. Next year, the EIA estimated, daily production will hit an average of 11.5 million bpd, up from this year’s estimated 10.7 million bpd.

While some industry observers treat this robust production data with caution, arguing that shale oil producers are heavy laden with debt that will soon catch up with them, deterring further production expansion, for now field numbers seem to support EIA’s estimates. Related: Is The Shale Slowdown Overblown?

Recently, HFI Research forecast that the United States’ shale oil production would reach 9.66 million bpd in 2020, growing by a combined 3.84 million bpd between 2017 and 2020. This will only happen if pipeline bottlenecks in the Permian are dealt with, however. Should this happen quickly enough, the star play¬—along with the Eagle Ford and Bakken—will be the driver behind the overall shale production increase.

Right now, however, drillers in the Permian are being forced to sell their crude at a discount because production is growing faster than pipeline capacity. There are several projects in the works, however, as Texas seems to be free from a strong environmentalist lobby, which has been a thorn in the side of many of Alberta’s oil sands producers.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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