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Increased New Well Productivity Helped US Shale Growth In 2019

Rising productivity from new wells has driven U.S. shale production higher in recent years and higher in 2019, too, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said on Friday.

Last year, shale production accounted for 64 percent of all crude oil production in the United States, with the share of shale output rising thanks to the increasing productivity of new wells that were brought online.

In all major shale regions, the average first full month of production from new wells has grown since 2007, the EIA has estimated.

As production rates from new wells rose, overall shale production rose even in 2015 and 2016 when drilling activity was subdued to the low oil prices.  

“Since 2017, recovering oil prices and more efficient production from new wells have helped producers cover costs of drilling, production, and the development of new technologies,” the EIA said.

The longer laterals and the injection of more proppant during the fracking process have been the key drivers of higher new well productivity over the past decade.

In the Permian region, total production and production per new well have been constantly growing for 13 years in a row, according to the EIA.

Although at a slower pace, U.S. shale production will continue to increase in the near term, as per EIA estimates.

Oil production in the seven most prolific shale plays in the U.S. is set to increase by 22,000 bpd in February to 9.2 million bpd, the EIA said in its latest monthly Drilling Productivity Report earlier this week. Year over year, the Permian basin’s production in February 2020 would be an increase of 800,000 bpd.

In the January 2020 Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO), the EIA estimates that total U.S. crude oil production averaged 12.2 million bpd last year, a rise by 1.3 million bpd compared to 2018. This year, EIA sees U.S. crude oil production averaging 13.3 million bpd, while the average American crude oil production will be 13.7 million bpd in 2021, with the Permian accounting for most of the growth. 

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By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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