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Shale energy production expected to set record in September

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Shale energy production expected to set record in September

The U.S. Energy Information Administration expects that the growth of shale output of natural gas and crude oil will continue in September, with gas output climbing for the sixth consecutive month to come in 11.8% above the same month a year earlier.

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The latest installment of the "Drilling Productivity Report" published by the EIA on Aug. 14 showed that total output of natural gas across seven key shale plays is likely to climb 1.6% in September versus the previous month to 59.43 Bcf/d.

That follows a 1.7% increase in August from the July level of 57.54 Bcf/d.

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The EIA expects all seven shale formations it tracks to show increases versus the prior month in September, with Appalachia increasing the most on a volume basis with a gain of 350.5 MMcf/d, followed by the Permian with an increase of 160.1 MMcf/d.

On a percentage basis, the Haynesville leads with a 2.3% increase, followed by the Niobrara with a gain of 2.1%.

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The EIA projects shale production of crude oil will climb 1.9% from the prior month in September to 6.15 MMbbl/d, for year-over-year growth of 18.9%.

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The government agency expects all seven shale plays to experience oil production increases versus the prior month in September.

On a volume basis, the Permian leads all of the shale plays with an increase of 64.4 Mbbl/d, while the Niobrara trails second with a gain of 15.0 Mbbl/d.

On a percentage basis, production growth in the Niobrara leads at 3.1% and the Anadarko follows with an increase of 2.6%.

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The number of drilled but uncompleted wells climbed by 208 from the prior month to reach 7,059 in July.

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EIA announces major Drilling Productivity Report changes

The report is the first of the series to incorporate a new shale energy production region and to reorganize other shale formations.

"Consistent with the [report's] aim to cover the most prolific and active on-shore regions where oil and natural gas are produced from shale and other tight resources," the EIA said in a footnote on its website that it has added the Anadarko region covering 25 Oklahoma and five Texas counties.

Going forward, the report will also consolidate data for the Marcellus and Utica formations into the Appalachia region.

"With the increasing number of wells in Pennsylvania being drilled into the Utica formation and some wells in Ohio producing from the Marcellus shale, the previous regional definitions based on surface boundaries are becoming less meaningful, especially where the two plays overlap," the footnote said. "Furthermore, combining the relatively small number of active rigs across the broader Appalachia region should improve the precision of our productivity estimates."

Looking ahead, the EIA said it would continue to provide data on the Marcellus and Utica formations "until further notice."

While shale resources and production are found in many parts of the U.S., the EIA's drilling productivity report focuses on the seven most prolific areas, which are in the Lower 48.