EIA Drilling Productivity Report Update – Dec ’21
According to the EIA’s most recent Drilling Productivity Report, U.S. oil output is expected to rebound to a 21 month high level throughout the month of January. 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.
Dec ’21 production levels were revised 27,200 barrels per day (bpd), or 0.3%, above levels previously forecasted, finishing 83,300 bpd above previous month levels. Jan ’22 production levels are expected to increase by an additional 96,200 bpd, or 1.2%, from the Dec ’21 revised production levels, reaching a 21 month high level.
The Jan ’22 projected month-over-month increase in oil production would be the tenth experienced throughout the past 11 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 (+71,300 bpd) region, followed by the Eagle Ford (+12,000 bpd) and Bakken (+7,500 bpd) regions. The Permian region is expected to account for nearly three quarters of the total projected increase in production levels throughout the month.
Jan ’22 oil production is expected to remain higher on a YOY basis for the ninth consecutive month, finishing 8.4% above previous year levels. Oil production had finished lower on a YOY basis over 12 consecutive months through Apr ’21. Jan ’22 oil production volumes are expected to remain 7.9% below pre-pandemic seasonal levels, however.
Nov ’21 U.S. drilled-but-uncompleted (DUC) wells declined 4.4% from the previous month, reaching a seven year low level, overall. 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 17th experienced in a row.
Permian DUC wells declined most significantly from the previous month throughout Nov ’21, followed by Eagle Ford and Bakken DUC 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 17 consecutive months through Nov ’21. The deviation between completed and drilled wells reached a nine month low level throughout the month of November, however.