Bakken and Eagle Ford shale oil production flat in February

In February, shale oil production in the Bakken and Eagle Ford shale plays increased by 19,000 barrels per day (b/d), or 1%, according to Bentek Energy, an analytics and forecasting unit of Platts.

In South Texas, Eagle Ford basin crude oil production averaged 1.6 million barrels per day in February, up 375,000 incremental b/d, or 31%, from February 2014, according to Catherine Bernardo, manager of energy analysis for Bentek Energy. Additionally, crude oil production in the North Dakota section of the Bakken shale formation of the Williston Basin averaged 1.2 million b/d in February. This was 276,000 b/d higher than February 2014 levels.

"While rig count numbers in both basins have been deteriorating steadily since November 2014, production has not followed suit and remains relatively flat," Bernardo said. "Producers in the Eagle Ford and Bakken are still incentivized to maintain their production levels, thanks to sufficient economic returns in those plays, which currently average around 20%. Producers are countering the decline in rig count with a drive for efficiency gains in drilling and completion techniques and an increased focus on their more productive acreage."

Bentek analysis shows that from February 2014 to February 2015, total US crude oil production increased 1.5 million b/d.

The Platts Eagle Ford Marker, a daily price assessment that reflects the value of oil out of the Eagle Ford shale formation in South Texas, has ranged between $46.22 per barrel (/b) and $57.76/b since the beginning of 2015, with an average price of $57.76/b. The Marker has fluctuated between $50.35/b and $57.76/b since the middle of February.

The price of oil out of the Bakken formation at Williston, North Dakota, is down 11% since Jan. 1, with an average price of $46.86/b, according to the Platts Bakken price assessment. It started at a high of $57.45/b in mid-February before decreasing and trading closer to the $38.43/b low for the year to date.

The Platts Bakken is a daily assessment of price for oil closest to the wellhead prior to determination of transportation by rail or pipe. The assessment reflects a sulfur content of 0.2% or less and an American Petroleum Institute (API) gravity of 42 or less, similar to the nature of North Dakota Light Sweet crude. The Platts Eagle Ford Marker reflects the value of a median 47-API Eagle Ford crude barrel, based on the crude's product yields and Platts product price assessments, adjusted for US Gulf Coast logistics.

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