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Shale gas and oil output turns around, with rebound expected in January 2017

Shale production of natural gas and crude oil is expected to rebound in January 2017 after several months of consecutive declines.

The latest installment of the "Drilling Productivity Report," published Dec. 12 by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, showed that total output of natural gas across seven key shale plays is likely to increase 87.98 MMcf/d in January 2017 from December to reach 47.51 Bcf/d. From the same month a year earlier, production in January 2017 is anticipated to be up 166.22 MMcf/d.

The sequential rate of advance followed a decline of 44.16 MMcf/d in December, which marked the fourth consecutive month of contraction.

Shale production of crude oil is projected to increase 1.39 Mbbl/d sequentially in January 2017 to reach 4.54 MMbbl/d. The gain followed a 28.68 Mbbl/d monthly decline in December. The contraction in December was the fifth consecutive and was the 18th decline in 21 months.

The number of drilled but uncompleted wells increased 64 to 5,218 wells in November from 5,154 wells in October. DUC figures for October were revised down by one well from 5,155 originally.

The data may be slightly bearish for gas and oil prices, as the report provides some confirmation of the rebound in drilling activity that has been reported by exploration and production companies in the last few months.