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U.S. DUC Count Drops 48% In Two Years

Crude oil production is set for another increase next month, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s latest edition of the Drilling Productivity Report released on Monday.

According to the EIA, crude oil production in the seven most prolific U.S. shale basins is set to increase to 8.707 million barrels per day in March—a 109,000 bpd increase (1.3%)from February’s 8.598 million bpd, and an increase of 271,000 bpd from January’s tally.

The largest increases are expected to be seen in the Permian basin (+71,000 bpd in March) and the Eagle Ford (+24,000 bpd).

Source: EIA DPR

The EIA’s Drilling Productivity Report also showed another decrease in the number of Drilled but Uncompleted wells (DUCs). In January’s report, the EIA had estimated that the number of DUCs had fallen to 4,616 in December from 4,830 in November. The EIA’s current report shows that January’s DUC count has fallen even further, slipping 191 to 4,466.

This is down from 7,449 DUCs at the beginning of last year, and 8,547 at the beginning of 2020.

Some have suggested that the oil markets could be in for hard times ahead, as all indications that our future will include increased future oil demand growth while oil and gas investments have failed to rebound as quickly.

New drilling acitivity as reported by Baker Hughes is on the upswing, but oil companies appaear to be significantly more interested in completing wells rather than drilling new ones. The number of active oil-directed drilling rigs has increased 206 over the last year. While this is an impressive 12-month gain, active rigs are still down 162 from the level seen two years ago.

By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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