The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates that total Bakken crude oil well output will pass the 1 million barrel of oil per day (MMbopd) mark in December.
Bakken oil production is expected to rise by 26,000 barrels of oil per day (bopd) from 976,000 bopd this month to just over 1 MMbopd in December, EIA reported Friday. The estimate comes from EIA’s “November 2013 Drilling Productivity Report”, which tracks U.S. unconventional oil and gas plays. EIA also forecasts Bakken natural gas production to grow by 27 million cubic feet per day from 1.081 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in November to 1.108 Bcf/d in December.
The Bakken now accounts for a little over 10 percent of total U.S. oil production. Once its production surpasses the 1 MMbopd mark, it will become the fourth U.S. region producing over 1 MMbopd in the United States. These other regions include the Gulf of Mexico, Eagle Ford and Permian basins.
The growth in Bakken oil production is part of the longer-term trend in drilling efficiency gains; as a result, North Dakota now ranks second behind Texas in U.S. oil production, EIA reported Friday. The production gains have also bolstered the state’s gross domestic product and electricity demand.
Oil production from an average Bakken rig is expected to rise from 481 bopd this month to 496 bopd in December, the most of any of the six U.S. shale regions that EIA tracks in the report. These regions account for over 90 percent of domestic U.S. oil production growth and virtually all domestic U.S. gas production growth from 2011 to 2012.
The improvements in central U.S. infrastructure allowed more of this oil to reach U.S. refineries in recent months, helping to narrow the price difference between Bakken and West Texas intermediate crude, which is price at Cushing, Okla., EIA reported.
U.S. oil production from the Bakken, Eagle Ford, Haynesville, Marcellus, Niobrara and Permian regions is forecast to rise from 3.9 MMbopd this month to 4.01 MMbopd in December, EIA reported.
The Eagle Ford unconventional oil play in South Teas beat Bakken to the 1 MMbopd mark earlier this year, Reuters reported in October.
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