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Permian, Appalachia will surge to record production levels to end 2018, EIA says

As oil and gas production in the U.S. continues to rise, the Energy Information Administration projected the Permian Basin of West Texas and New Mexico to near 3.7 million barrels of oil per day in December.

In its monthly Drilling Productivity Report, the EIA said Permian production would reach approximately 3.69 million bbl/d, or more than 800,000 bbl/d more than in December 2017. The EIA also called for another month of record natural gas production, with more than 12.4 Bcf/d in December.

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The Permian is not the only play that is expected to set records in December. The EIA projects oil production in the Bakken Shale of 1.37 million bbl/d in December, an increase of more than 80,000 bbl/d year over year. Oil production in the Niobrara Shale is expected to exceed 670,000 bbl/d in December, an increase from more than 576,000 bbl/d in December 2017.

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Two other plays, the Eagle Ford and Haynesville shales, are called to reach production levels not seen in several years. The Eagle Ford, according to EIA projections, should produce 1.4 million bbl/d of oil and approximately 7.3 Bcf/d of natural gas in December. If accurate, that would be the highest level of oil production in the Eagle Ford since January 2016 and the most gas production since December 2015.

The EIA projected that December production in the gas-heavy Haynesville will reach approximately 9.7 Bcf/d, its highest level since September 2012.

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While the Permian's record oil production easily outpaces the rest of the nation, Appalachia's gas production is also expected to continue to rise and set new records. The EIA expects production of gas in the region to exceed 30.4 Bcf/d, well beyond any other region.

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While production continues to increase, so does the number of wells that are being drilled but not completed. The EIA said that number reached 8,545 in October, up from 8,276 from September. The largest number of uncompleted wells is in the Permian, with 3,866. The Eagle Ford had the second-most drilled but uncompleted wells with 1,571.