Eagle Ford oil output rises 77% to more than 500,000 barrels per day

Oil production in Texas’s Eagle Ford shale formation rose more Than 77 percent in March from a year earlier, topping 500,000 barrels a day and posting a record.

The nine geographic fields that make up the majority of Eagle Ford yielded 529,874 barrels of crude a day, according to preliminary data released by the Texas Railroad Commission, which oversees oil and gas drilling in the state. The fields produced 298,266 barrels daily in March 2012.

February output was revised to 511,434 barrels a day from the preliminary report of 471,258, the commission said. Production totals typically increase in subsequent months as the state receives revised, corrected or late reports.

Growing production out of Eagle Ford is helping fuel a renaissance in Texas crude. The state produced 2.3 million barrels a day in February, the highest monthly level since April 1986, according to the Energy Information Administration, the statistical arm of the Energy Department. The EIA hasn’t released March production data for the state.

EOG Resources Inc. (EOG) is the largest leaseholder in the Eagle Ford play, with 639,000 net acres. Chesapeake Energy Corp. (CHK) is next with 485,000, followed by Apache Corp. and BP Plc, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Plains Marketing LP’s posted price for Eagle Ford light oil today was $90.75 a barrel, compared with the most recent settlement prices of $94.15 for West Texas Intermediate and $102.62 for Brent.

Output of condensates, or natural gas liquids, was 89,345 barrels a day in March, down from 123,871 a year earlier, as drillers moved away from less profitable gas. Production of natural gas was 1.89 billion cubic feet a day, compared with 2.03 billion the year earlier.