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EIA report suggests oil, gas production growth may be slowing

After a remarkable buildup in oil and gas production over the past two years, a new set of projections from the U.S. Energy Information Administration indicates the boom may be slowing.

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In its Drilling Productivity Report, released March 18, the EIA's projections show the rate of production growing nearly across the board. In one play, the Anadarko Basin, oil and gas production is expected to decline from March to April. In other regions, the rate of production growth is considerably less than it was a year ago.

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The Permian Basin remains the world's most prolific oil and gas play, with the EIA projecting it will break its own production record in April with predicted production of slightly less than 4.18 million barrels of oil per day and more than 14 Bcf/d of natural gas. If the EIA's projections are correct, Permian production will have grown by less than 140,000 bbl/d in the first four months of 2019, compared to nearly 400,000 bbl/d in from January to April 2018. The four-month projected growth in the Bakken Shale is also expected to be less, from just under 50,000 bbl/d in 2018 to approximately 41,000 bbl/d in 2019.

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The Anadarko Basin, which has been one of the more volatile plays in terms of production growth, is expected to see a drop in production from March to April. The EIA projects a decline from over 586,000 bbl/d of oil and 7.67 Bcf/d of gas in March to less than 581,000 bbl/d and 7.67 Bcf/d of gas in April.

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One region that appears to be bucking the trend of slowing growth is the Haynesville Shale, which is closing in on all-time record gas production. The EIA expects production of 10.52 Bcf/d in April, which would be the second-highest month on record. Only November 2011, with production of 10.56 Bcf/d, would be greater.

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While the Permian is expected to break the 14 Bcf/d gas production barrier for the first time in April, Appalachia continues to easily outpace the rest of the nation when it comes to producing natural gas. The EIA projects production of more than 31.5 Bcf/d in April, up nearly 900 MMcf/d since January and at a greater rate of growth than the first four months of 2018.

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