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US shale oil output to fall to 7.49 million b/d in August, down 56,000 b/d: EIA

Highlights

Permian oil output to fall to lowest since March 2019

Of 7 major basins, only Bakken to pump more in August

Outlook may not factor in Dakota Access shutdown

Washington — US shale oil production will fall to 7.49 million b/d in August, down 56,000 b/d from July and the lowest in two years, the US Energy Information Administration said July 13.

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EIA cut its estimate for July production by 86,000 b/d from last month's outlook to 7.546 million b/d, according to its latest Drilling Productivity Report.

Permian Basin oil production is expected to fall to 4.16 million b/d in July, down 103,000 b/d from last month's outlook. EIA expects the West Texas/New Mexico basin to pump 4.147 million b/d in August, the lowest since March 2019.

Of the seven major US shale oil basins, only the Bakken is set to see higher production in August, according to EIA. The North Dakota/Montana basin is forecast to pump 1.113 million b/d in August, up 18,000 b/d from July.

EIA raised its July outlook for the Bakken to 1.095 million b/d, up from 998,000 b/d in last month's outlook.

North Dakota regulators said June 12 oil production in the state may have bottomed out in mid-May with shut-ins topping 500,000 b/d. The state estimated output at 925,000-970,000 b/d in mid-June.

But EIA's latest outlook for the Bakken may not have factored in the court-ordered shutdown of Energy Transfer's Dakota Access Pipeline by August 5. The company is hoping to secure a stay of that order this week while it appeals the judgment.

A pipeline shutdown would force North Dakota producers to turn to rail to deliver their crude to market, with some potentially shutting in production in the face of low oil prices.

Texas' Eagle Ford basin led the declines on a volume basis for a second month in a row. EIA expects Eagle Ford drillers to pump 1.106 million b/d in August, down 23,000 b/d from July and the lowest since August 2017.

US crude production from onshore shale basins peaked in March to just above 9 million b/d, before freefalling global oil demand from pandemic lockdowns and excess supply from Saudi Arabia and Russia tanked global oil prices.

S&P Global Platts Analytics expects overall US oil production to average 11.74 million in 2020, down from 12.24 million b/d in 2019. It sees US output falling to 10.17 million b/d in 2021 and rising slightly to 10.37 million b/d in 2022.

Platts Analytics estimates about 2 million b/d of US oil production was voluntarily shut in at peak.

US drilled-but-uncompleted wells, or DUCs, rose to 7,659 in June, up from 7,624 in May, according to the same report.