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Steady US shale production growth continues to break records

Shale oil production in the United States has exceeded 9 million barrels of oil per day and is projected to continue growing, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its monthly Drilling Productivity Report released Dec. 16.

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The report, which covers unconventional oil and gas plays across the country, included revised production averages of 9.05 million barrels per day of oil production and 85.23 Bcf/d of natural gas production for November. The EIA anticipates growth will continue through December, with projected averages of 9.11 million bbl/d and 85.52 Bcf/d, respectively.

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The Permian Basin continues to easily pace U.S. shale plays when it comes to oil production, with the EIA projecting production of 4.69 million bbl/d for December and 4.74 million bbl/d for January 2020. Natural gas production, largely associated gas from oil drilling, could surpass 17 Bcf/d in January.

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The dry gas Haynesville Shale continues to plow through the record books, with the EIA projecting production of 11.96 Bcf/d in December and 12.08 Bcf/d in January 2020. If the projections for January are accurate, it will be the first time the play has surpassed the 12-Bcf/d production plateau.

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The EIA is projecting slow growth for December and January for the Bakken Shale. The federal agency predicts oil production of slightly more than 1.52 million bbl/d in December, increasing by just 3,000 bbl/d in January. Natural gas production of 3.11 Bcf/d for December is anticipated to increase to 3.12 Bcf/d in January.

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Appalachia continues to dominate all unconventional plays when it comes to gas production, but the EIA is projecting a slight slowdown from December to January. The agency is predicting production of 33.51 Bcf/d in December, falling to 33.43 Bcf/d in January.

Two unconventional plays, the Eagle Ford Shale and Anadarko Basin, are continuing a multimonth downturn in production. The EIA anticipates oil production in the Eagle Ford to fall to less than 1.36 million bbl/d in January 2020, a decrease of nearly 40,000 bbl/d from July. In the Anadarko, gas production is expected to fall to 7.5 Bcf/d in January 2020, down from 7.66 Bcf/d in December and 7.75 Bcf/d in January.