Bakken, Eagle Ford production flat in April

Oil production from key shale formations in North Dakota and Texas were mostly flat in April as compared to March, according to Bentek Energy, an analytics and forecasting unit of Platts.

Oil production from the Eagle Ford shale basin in Texas continued its flat trajectory in April, growing only 1,000 barrels per day (b/d) month on month. The marginal growth (less than 1% from the March levels), signifies the ongoing impact resulting from the suppressed oil pricing environment. Bakken shale in North Dakota remained relatively flat in April, increasing about 2,000 b/d, or less than 1%.

In South Texas, Eagle Ford production averaged 1.6 million barrels per day in April, up 284,000 incremental barrels per day or nearly 22% higher than April 2014, said Sami Yahya, a Bentek energy analyst. Additionally, crude oil production in the North Dakota section of the Bakken shale formation of the Williston Basin averaged 1.2 million b/d last month, Bentek data showed. This was 173,000 b/d higher than year ago levels.

"The number of active rigs in the Eagle Ford basin currently stands at 116 rigs, down 27 rigs from the previous month,” Yahya said. “The efficiency gains noted in the region – such as the trimming of average drill time per well from 13 to 11 days between the fourth quarter of 2014 and the first quarter of 2015 – have helped in preventing oil production decline so far. Nonetheless, we do expect to see declines, however marginal, in Eagle Ford oil production as soon as next month.”

Yahya said that oil production in the Bakken Basin, however, is expected to continue to grow but at a slower pace. "Producers will likely continue to focus on efficiency gains and shift their rigs to the core areas, where initial production rates are more favorable," he added.

Bentek analysis shows that from April 2014 to April 2015, total US crude oil production has increased by nearly 1 million b/d. 

"Prices of both Eagle Ford and Bakken shale oil have been on an upward trajectory since mid-March and reached a new year high by the end of April," said Jacqueline Puig, Platts associate editor of Americas crude. 

The Platts Eagle Ford Marker, a daily price assessment launched in October 2012 and reflecting the value of oil out of the Eagle Ford Shale formation in South Texas, was up 21% between January and April, with an average price of $54.37/b for the year. The marker has ranged between $46.22/b and $65.17/b since the beginning of this year. 

The price of oil out of the Bakken formation at Williston, North Dakota, was up 22% between January and April, with an average price of $47.55/b for the year, according to the Platts Bakken assessment. It has ranged between $38.43/b and $57.45/b since the beginning of January.

The Platts Bakken, introduced April 22, 2014, 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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