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U.S. Oil, Gas Production Crumbled In April

U.S. production of crude oil and natural gas saw in April the biggest monthly declines in years, similar to the sudden drops when natural disasters hit, the Energy Information Administration said on Tuesday.  

Following the coronavirus pandemic and the crash in oil prices, U.S. crude oil production slumped by 670,000 barrels per day (bpd), or by 5.3 percent, in April, compared to March. This was the largest monthly decline in American oil production since September 2008, when Hurricanes Gustav and Ike resulted in production crumbling by 1.03 million bpd in one month.

Natural gas production fell by 2.6 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in April 2020, or by 2.3 percent from March, which was the largest monthly drop in gas production since the shut-ins due to Hurricane Isaac in August 2012, the EIA said.

In oil production, Texas saw the biggest monthly loss in April, with production down by 234,000 bpd. North Dakota saw the second-largest decrease in April, 195,000 bpd. Both Texas and North Dakota noted their largest recorded monthly decreases.

Oklahoma, New Mexico, and the federal offshore Gulf of Mexico also saw monthly drops in oil production. Only Colorado of the top six oil-producing states saw a slight increase in production in April, as a result of more new wells coming online than were shut-in, the EIA said.

Texas also saw the largest decline in natural gas production in April, followed by Oklahoma.

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As oil prices increased to $40 a barrel, U.S. producers started bringing back in recent weeks part of the oil production they had curtailed in the second quarter in response to the plunge in oil demand and oil prices.

In the middle of June, analysts and crude oil buyers told Reuters that they expected U.S. firms to have restored by the end of June around 500,000 bpd of the 2 million bpd previously curtailed production.  

Despite the resumption of part of the curtailed production, U.S. crude oil output is heading for two years of declines, the EIA says.

In the July Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO), EIA forecasts that U.S. crude oil production will average 11.6 million bpd this year and 11.0 million bpd in 2021, down from the 2019 average of 12.2 million bpd.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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