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U.S. natural gas production waning

Federal report finds only one of seven shale basins expected to post gains.

By Daniel J. Graeber
U.S. natural gas production waning
Federal U.S. report finds only one of seven shale natural gas basins are expected to post gains in overall short-term production. Photo by photostock77/Shutterstock

WASHINGTON, Aug. 26 (UPI) -- A drilling productivity report from the United States finds the Utica shale basin in Ohio is the only one of seven reviewed that's expecting more production.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration finds production from seven shale basins in the United States reached 45.6 billion cubic feet per day in May for an all-time high. That's expected to drop 1.5 percent by September.

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The report finds net natural gas production from new wells drilled into U.S. shale reserves is not enough to counter the expected decline from legacy wells. EIA attributed that phenomenon to the decline in the number of drilling rigs deployed across the country.

"Given the substantial drop in rig counts since the fourth quarter of 2014 in each of the [shale] regions and growing declines in production from legacy wells, productivity increases are less able to completely offset lower rig counts and legacy-well declines," EIA said.

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Of the seven basins reviewed in the latest drilling productivity report, EIA finds only the Utica shale basin in Ohio is expected to post an increase in short-term production. Production from new wells drilled into the Utica shale is estimated to rise by 7 percent from September last year, offsetting the declines expected from legacy production.

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Last year, it was an increase in rig activity in the Utica shale that accounted for its resiliency.

In its market report for June, EIA found similar expected trends for U.S. crude oil production. Total oil production in July was down 100,000 barrels per day from the previous month. Net growth in U.S. crude oil production doesn't return until the middle of next year.

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