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EIA projects slight decline in unconventional oil, gas production in October

U.S. unconventional oil and gas production will likely continue to increase in September but decline slightly in October, the Energy Information Administration said in its monthly Drilling Productivity Report released Sept. 14.

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The EIA estimates that shale oil production will increase to 7.71 million barrels per day in September — a very small increase over August — but will slide back to 7.64 million bbl/d in October. That would snap a four-month streak of increasing unconventional oil growth but remains well below March's 9.14 million bbl/d.

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The nation's largest unconventional producing region, the Permian Basin, could buck the trend of declines. The EIA projects the Permian will increase production to 4.15 million bbl/d in September and 4.17 million bbl/d in October. Both of those totals significantly trail March's all-time record of 4.85 million bbl/d.

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All other major unconventional producing regions, according to the EIA, should see at least slight declines in oil production from September to October. The federal agency projects production in the Anadarko Basin to drop from approximately 413,500 bbl/d to 394,000 bbl/d, while the Bakken Shale is predicted to see a production decline from 1.19 million bbl/d to 1.17 million bbl/d. The Eagle Ford Shale of Texas is predicted to see a decline from 1.16 million bbl/d to 1.13 million bbl/d, while the Niobrara Shale is projected to see oil production drop from approximately 628,000 bbl/d to 605,000 bbl/d month over month.

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The EIA projects that unconventional gas production will see a small dip as well, from just over 81 Bcf/d to 80.6 Bcf/d from September to October.

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Appalachia, the nation's largest shale gas producing region, is expected to see a production decline from 33 Bcf/d in September to approximately 32.84 Bcf/d. The dry gas Haynesville shale is projected to have a production decline from 11.67 Bcf/d in September to 11.62 Bcf/d in October.

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The Permian, as with shale oil production, is projected to buck the trend. Likely due in large part due to increased associated gas coming from higher oil production, the Permian's unconventional gas production is projected to increase from 15.9 Bcf/d in September to just over 16 Bcf/d in October.

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