Production in the US Permian basin of western Texas and south-eastern New Mexico is projected to reach all-time highs in December as operators surge to take advantage of the highest prices in several years.
According to the US Energy Information Administration, unconventional oil production in the Permian basin could reach 4.95 million barrels per day in December.
The current record is 4.91 million bpd set in March 2020, shortly before the collapse of oil prices caused a severe cut in production. Shale oil production hovered in the area of 4.3 million bpd for much of the remainder of 2020, but has steadily increased through much of this year.
Shale gas production is also expected to hit record levels for the Permian. Production surpassed 19 billion cubic feet per day in August for the first time and has continued to climb, with the EIA projecting a December average of approximately 19.39 Bcfd.
While the Permian basin could see an increase in production of more than 66,000 bpd from November to December, other major unconventional plays are projected to see minimal increases.
The Eagle Ford shale of south-eastern Texas, for instance, is expected to see production remain essentially flat at around 1.08 million bpd month-over-month.
In the Bakken shale of North Dakota and Montana, the EIA projects production of slightly less than 1.14 million bpd in November and slightly more than 1.14 million bpd in December.
A pair of primarily natural gas producing regions could also see record production levels in December as gas prices remain strong.
The Haynesville shale, located in northern Louisiana and conveniently near LNG export terminals on the US Gulf Coast, has seen a constant increase in production for several years.
After breaking the 13 Bcfd production plateau earlier this year, the Haynesville is now threatening to reach 14 Bcfd by year’s end. The EIA said it expects Haynesville gas production to reach 13.77 Bcfd in November and increase to 13.89 Bcfd in December.
Appalachia, largest natural gas producer in the US, has been producing more than 35 Bcfd of gas since August. The EIA expects gas production to surpass 35.6 Bcfd in November and remain nearly flat in December while increasing enough to set a new record.