U.S. crude oil output from seven major shale formations is expected to rise to a record 9.13 million barrels per day (MMbbl/d), an increase of about 49,000 bbl/d, in December, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said in a monthly forecast on Nov. 18.
Output at the largest formation, the Permian Basin of Texas and New Mexico, is expected to rise 57,000 bbl/d to 4.73 MMbbl/d, the smallest increase since July but offsetting projected declines elsewhere.
Output in North Dakota and Montana’s Bakken region is expected to edge higher by 9,000 bbl/d to a record 1.51 MMbbl/d, the data showed.
Meanwhile, production declines are forecast in the Eagle Ford and Anadarko basins.
Production increases in the Permian and Bakken have been at the forefront of a shale boom that has helped make the United States the biggest oil producer in the world, ahead of Saudi Arabia and Russia.
Still, the rate of growth in the Permian has slowed as independent oil producers cut spending on new drilling and completions and focus more on earnings growth.
Investor dissatisfaction is expected to spur companies to rein in spending for a second year, with capex among companies that have released budgets set to fall more than 10% in 2020.
Still, majors are ramping up spending, offsetting some of the impact this year.
Separately, U.S. natural gas output in the big shale basins was projected to increase to a record 85.2 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in December.
That would only be up about 0.3 Bcf/d over the November forecast, its smallest monthly increase since January when production in the big shale basins declined.
Growth was slowing as the number of rigs in each region has declined since the start of the year.
Output in the Appalachia region, the biggest U.S. shale gas formation, was set to rise less than 0.1 Bcf/d to a record 33.7 Bcf/d.
EIA said producers drilled 1,148 wells, the least since December 2017, and completed 1,373 in the biggest shale basins in October, leaving total drilled but uncompleted (DUC) wells down 225 to 7,642, the lowest since October 2018.
That was the biggest monthly decline in DUCs on record, according to EIA data going back to December 2013.
Production from Occidental Petroleum's Permian Basin unit rose 57% to 250,000 boe/d in the fourth quarter, boosted by its investments in the basin.
Cenovus Energy's quarterly loss widened, but the oil sands producer said the impact of output cuts will be more than offset by an improvement in Canadian crude prices this year.
BHP Group said on Feb.13 its board has approved $696 million in funding to expand production at the BP PLC-led Atlantis oil project in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.