Niobrara Shale Oil and Natural Gas Production Falls Again in June


Jul. 16 2015, Published 10:48 a.m. ET

Niobrara shale June oil production

The EIA (U.S. Energy Information Administration) released its Drilling Productivity Report on July 13, 2015. The report estimates that the Niobrara shale produced 431.9 thousand barrels of crude oil per day in June. This is 4% less than production in May but 19% more than production a year ago.

Month-over-month, June crude oil production in the Niobrara shale represents the third consecutive fall.

Niobrara shale oil production increased from ~126 Mbpd (thousand barrels per day) in June 2007 to ~432 Mbpd in June 2015. This is an increase of 242% in eight years.

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Oil production per rig

The number of rigs working at the Niobrara shale decreased from 50 in May to 46 in June. A year ago, there were 98 drilling rigs in the region.

By June, Niobrara produced 489 bpd (barrels per day) per rig, or a 31% gain in production per rig since June 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 ~4.60 bcf per day currently. That’s a ~25% growth. In June, however, Niobrara shale natural gas production fell 46.3 MMcf (million cubic feet) per day compared to production in the previous month. This follows a 38.3 MMcf per day decrease in May compared to April.

What it means for Niobrara producers

The recent production fall will hurt Niobrara shale producers that may be behind this drop. This includes energy producers such as Noble Energy (NBL), Bonanza Creek Energy (BCEI), and Whiting Petroleum (WLL).

NBL makes up 1.4% of the Energy Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLE). WLL makes up 0.4% of the iShares U.S. Energy ETF (IYE).

In the next part, we’ll take a look at natural gas production at the Marcellus Shale.


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