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U.S. shale oil output to rise to record 8.179 million bpd in February: EIA

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(Reuters) – U.S. oil output from seven major shale formations is expected to rise by nearly 63,000 barrels per day (bpd) in February to a record 8.179 million bpd, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said in a monthly report on Tuesday.

The largest change is forecast in the Permian Basin of Texas and New Mexico, where output is expected to climb by 23,000 bpd to a record of about 3.85 million bpd in February.

Rising U.S. shale production has helped vault the country to the position of world’s biggest oil producer, ahead of Saudi Arabia and Russia. Overall crude production has climbed to a weekly record of 11.9 million bpd.

Production increases in the Permian, the biggest oilpatch in the United States, and the Bakken has surged over the past year.

However, the increase in Permian production for February is the smallest projected increase since May 2018, when output fell slightly, the data showed. Output from the basin has come under pressure recently as oil prices crashed and the production surge outpaced pipeline capacity, trapping barrels in the region.

In North Dakota’s Bakken region, shale production is estimated to rise by about 9,000 bpd to a record 1.42 million barrels per day. In the Eagle Ford region, output is expected to edge higher by 11,000 bpd to about 1.44 million bpd, which would be the highest monthly output since Jan 2016.

Meanwhile, U.S. natural gas output was projected to increase to a record 77.6 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) in February. That would be up more than 0.8 bcfd over the January forecast and mark the 13th consecutive monthly increase.

A year ago in February output was 64.4 bcfd.

The EIA projected gas output would increase in all the big shale basins in February.

Output in the Appalachia region, the nation’s biggest shale gas play, was set to rise over 0.2 bcfd to a record high of 31.6 bcfd in February. Production in Appalachia was 26.9 bcfd in the same month a year ago.

EIA said producers drilled 1,429 wells and completed 1,211 in the biggest shale basins in December, leaving total drilled but uncompleted wells up by 218 at a record high 8,594, according to data going back to December 2013.

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