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Niobrara Shale Oil and Gas Production Drops Again in May

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Oil production at the Niobrara Shale

The EIA (U.S. Energy Information Administration) released its “Drilling Productivity Report” on June 8, 2015. The report estimates that the Niobrara Shale produced 446.9 thousand barrels of crude oil per day in May. This is 3% less than production in April, but 23% more than production a year ago.

Niobrara Shale crude oil production also dropped ~1% in April over March this year.

Niobrara Shale oil production increased from ~127 Mbpd (thousand barrels per day) in May 2007 to ~447 Mbpd in May 2015. This equals an increase of 251% in eight years.

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Oil production per rig

The number of rigs working at the Niobrara Shale decreased from 51 in April to 50 in May. A year ago, there were 94 drilling rigs in the region.

By May, Niobrara produced 485 bpd per rig, or a 32% gain in production per rig since May 2014.

According to the EIA, the Niobrara Shale in Colorado and Wyoming has become one of the fastest-growing oil-producing regions in the United States.

Niobrara Shale natural gas production

Natural gas production at the Niobrara Shale increased from an average of ~3.67 Bcf (billion cubic feet) per day in 2007 to ~4.66 Bcf per day currently. That’s ~27% growth. In May, however, Niobrara Shale natural gas production fell by 44.8 MMcf (million cubic feet) per day compared with production in the previous month. This follows a 20.8 MMcf per day decrease in April compared with March.

What it means for Niobrara producers

Lower crude oil production in the Niobrara Shale can negatively affect energy producers such as Noble Energy (NBL), Bonanza Creek Energy (BCEI), and Whiting Petroleum (WLL).

NBL makes up 1.5% of the Energy Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLE). Meanwhile, WLL makes up 1.15% of the SPDR S&P Oil & Gas Exploration & Production ETF (XOP).

Next, we’ll take a look at natural gas production at the Marcellus Shale.

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