EIA Drilling Productivity Report Update – Mar ’22
According to the EIA’s most recent Drilling Productivity Report, U.S. oil output is expected to rebound to a 25 month high level throughout the month of April. The Drilling Productivity Report uses recent data on the total number of drilling rigs in operation, estimates of drilling productivity, and estimated changes in production from existing wells to provide estimated changes in oil production for the seven key regions shown below.
Mar ’22 production levels were revised 115,800 barrels per day (bpd), or 1.3%, below levels previously forecasted but remained 98,500 bpd, or 1.2%, above previous month levels. Apr ’22 production levels are expected to increase by an additional 117,100 bpd, or 1.4%, from the Mar ’22 revised production levels, reaching a 25 month high level.
The Apr ’22 projected month-over-month increase in oil production would be the eighth experienced throughout the past nine months and the largest experienced throughout the past five months. A pandemic related record large month-over-month decline in oil production was experienced throughout May ’20, while Feb ’21 production volumes were also reduced significantly due to deep freeze related slowdowns.
Oil production is expected to increase most significantly from the previous month within the Permian (+69,600 bpd) region, followed by the Eagle Ford (+22,700 bpd) and Bakken (+16,100 bpd) regions. The aforementioned regions are expected to account for over 90% of the total projected increase in production levels throughout the month.
Apr ’22 oil production is expected to remain higher on a YOY basis for the 12th consecutive month, finishing 9.5% above previous year levels. Oil production had finished lower on a YOY basis over 12 consecutive months through Apr ’21. Apr ’22 oil production volumes are expected to finish 3.3% above pre-pandemic seasonal levels, reaching a record high seasonal level. Apr ’22 oil production volumes are expected to remain 6.0% below the Nov ’19 absolute peak production levels, however.
Feb ’22 U.S. drilled-but-uncompleted (DUC) wells declined 3.4% from the previous month, reaching the lowest figure on record. DUC wells, which have been drilled by producers but have not yet been made ready for production, have been compiled since Dec ’13.
The monthly decline in DUC wells was the 20th experienced in a row but the smallest experienced over the past 12 months on both an absolute and percentage basis.
Permian DUC wells declined most significantly from the previous month throughout Feb ’22, followed by Eagle Ford wells. Eagle Ford, Appalachia, Bakken and Niobrara DUC wells all declined to the lowest levels on record.
Well completions have outpaced new well drilling over 20 consecutive months through Feb ’22. The deviation between completed and drilled wells reached a 12 month low level throughout the month of February, however.