Is the Eagle Ford Shale producing more than 1 million barrels of crude oil daily?
A new report released this week by the Energy Information Administration shows the field producing 1.07 million barrels of oil daily – and out-producing the Bakken Shale in North Dakota.
The Permian Basin is the nation’s top oil producer, at 1.29 million daily barrels, according to the EIA. The Eagle Ford is second and the Bakken is third, with 935,000 barrels of oil daily.
The EIA says the Eagle Ford passed the million-barrel mark in August, making 1.02 million barrels that month, compared with 998,853 barrels in July.
But estimates for oil production varies wildly.
The Texas Railroad Commission shows that through July – the latest numbers available – the Eagle Ford was producing 607,083 barrels daily.
And a Reuters story notes how difficult it is to pin down production:
“Wood Mackenzie forecasts for Eagle Ford are slightly lower than the EIA’s at 940,000 and 950,000 (barrels per day) for October and November and higher for Bakken at 970,000 and 990,000 (barrels per day) for the same two months.”
“Rival consultants IHS put Eagle Ford output at 900,000 (barrels per day) as of August, ahead of the Bakken and Three Forks at 847,000 (barrels per day), said Steve Trammel, research director and adviser.”
At the DUG Eagle Ford Conference in September in San Antonio, Subash Chandra, a managing director and at the investment banking firm Jefferies & Co., said the field would reach 1 million barrels in 2014.
No matter the source, the Eagle Ford is widely expected to pass the 1 million barrel mark, and rapidly.
Phani Gadde, an analyst with Wood Mackenzie, said Wednesday that the firm expects the Eagle Ford to reach the 1.6 million barrel mark by 2020.
Drillinginfo said in September, also at the DUG conference, that it expects Eagle Ford oil production to peak in 2022 at about 1.8 million barrels of oil per day — about double the current production — and start declining from there.
Here are the oil and gas production figures for the nation’s six major oil and gas fields, according to the EIA:
- Bakken Shale: 935,000 barrels of oil per day in October, rising to 961,000 barrels in November. 1,067 thousand cubic feet of gas daily, rising to 1,096 MCF in November.
- Eagle Ford: 1.069 million barrels of oil per day in October, rising to 1.093 million in November. 4,404 thousand cubic feet of gas daily, rising to 4,532 MCF in November.
- Haynesville Shale: 61 barrels of oil per day in October, rising to 62 barrels in November. 6,721 thousand cubic feet of gas daily, rising to 6,601 MCF in November.
- Marcellus Shale: 48 barrels of oil per day in October, rising to 51 barrels in November. 12,237 thousand cubic feet of gas daily, rising to 12,645 MCF in November.
- Niobrara: 260 barrels of oil per day in October, rising to 267 barrels in November. 4,610 thousand cubic feet of gas daily, rising to 4,550 MCF in November.
- Permian Basin: 1.292 million barrels of oil per day in October, remaining the same in November. 4,735 thousand cubic feet of gas daily, rising to 4,739 MCF in November.
The EIA report is based on production reports from the states, drilling rig counts and existing well production. This is the first time the report has been released.
One mystery of the new EIA report: Why is the Permian Basin production expected to remain unchanged in November? There were 375 drilling rigs working in West Texas last week – far and away the biggest concentration of drilling rigs in the nation, according to Baker Hughes.