US oil, gas production increases despite fewer wells: EIA

US oil, gas production increases despite fewer wells: EIA

6:46 AM, 19th November 2018
Oil and gas industry.
Daily production rates of individual wells contributed to US. (File photo)

WASHINGTON, US: Crude oil and natural gas production has increased in US, despite the decline in number of wells, according to a report by Energy Information Administration.

A report stated that how the daily production rates of individual wells contributed to US total crude oil and natural gas production in 2017.

The total number of wells producing crude oil and natural gas in the United States fell to 991,000 in 2017, down from a peak of 1,039,000 wells in 2014. This recent decline in the number of wells reflects advances in technology and drilling techniques.

Wells classified as nonhorizontal in the report—most of which are vertical wells—have decreased from 940,000 in 2014 to 864,000 in 2017. Horizontal wells are relatively less common, but they are growing as a share of the total: the 99,000 horizontal wells drilled in 2014 accounted for 10 percent of the total. In 2017, 127,000 horizontal wells accounted for 13 percent of total wells drilled.

Although horizontal wells are more expensive to drill than vertical wells, they contact more reservoir rock and therefore produce greater volumes. Only 1 percent of vertical wells produced at least 100 barrels per day (b/d) of crude oil in 2017, but 30 percent of horizontal wells produced at least 100 b/d. As these relatively prolific horizontal wells became more common, production growth continued even as the well count fell.

Even with fewer wells, US oil production grew from 8.7 million b/d in 2014 to 9.3 million b/d in 2017. During that same period, US natural gas gross withdrawals increased from about 78.7 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) to 83.4 Bcf/d. Since 2017, crude oil and natural gas production has continued to grow, most recently measured at 11.3 million b/d and 85.2 Bcf/d in August 2018, respectively.

In EIA’s report, wells are grouped into 26 production volume brackets, ranging from less than one barrel of oil equivalent per day (BOE/d) to more than 12,800 BOE/d. Most of the US oil and natural gas production comes from wells producing between 50 BOE/d and 1,600 BOE/d. In 2017, wells within this range accounted for 9 percent of the overall count of wells but 62 percent of crude oil production and 63 percent of natural gas production.

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