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Shale oil production in Bakken & Eagle Ford up 1.6% in December

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Oilfield Technology,

Oil production from the Bakken shale in North Dakota and the Eagle Ford shale in Texas increased by 45 000 bpd, or 1.6%, in December, according to Bentek Energy, an analytics and forecasting unit of Platts, a leading global provider of energy, petrochemicals, metals and agriculture information.

In South Texas, Eagle Ford production in December was 1 600 000 bpd, a 40% increase from the prior year, according to Catherine Bernardo, Bentek Energy manager of energy analysis.

"While low crude prices persevere, producers are indeed being faced with budget constraints and restricted drilling programs for 2015," Bernardo said. "Some producers will be insulated from low prices in the near term due to hedging programs and existing service contracts, while others will be forced to focus their efforts on the best acreage within their asset portfolios."

Bentek analysis shows that from December 2013 to December 2014, total U.S. crude oil production rose 1.5 million bpd.

Crude oil production in the North Dakota section of the Bakken shale formation of the Williston Basin averaged 1.2 million bpd in December, Bentek data showed. This was 296 000 bpd higher than levels seen in December 2013.

"Prices of Eagle Ford and Bakken shale oil finished the final quarter of 2014 on a weak note, staying pressured in December as a result of sharp price declines across the entire oil complex," said Jacqueline Puig, Platts associate editor of Americas crude.

The Platts Eagle Ford Marker, a daily price assessment launched in October 2012 and reflecting the value of oil out of the Eagle Ford Shale formation in South Texas, is down 51.8% since January 1 of last year, with an average price since mid-January 2014 of US$94.22 per bbl. The marker has ranged between US$46.22 per bbl and US$110.71 per bbl from mid-January 2014 to mid-January 2015. The price of oil out of the Bakken formation at Williston, North Dakota, has ranged between US$38.43 per bbl and US$96.59 per bbl since 22 April 2014 (the assessment's date of inception), according to the Platts Bakken price assessment. It reached a high of US$96.59 per bbl in mid-June, 2014 before decreasing to US$38.43 per bbl on 13 January 2015. The average since the launch of the Platts Bakken assessment is US$78.86 per bbl.

The Platts Bakken is a daily assessment of price for oil closest to the wellhead prior to determination of transportation by rail or pipe. The assessment reflects a sulphur content of 0.2% or less and an American Petroleum Institute (API) gravity of 42 or less, similar to the nature of North Dakota Light Sweet crude. The Platts Eagle Ford Marker reflects the value of a median 47-API Eagle Ford crude barrel, based on the crude's product yields and Platts product price assessments, adjusted for U.S. Gulf Coast logistics.

Platts introduced the world's first independent daily price reference valuing crude oil produced from a shale formation in May 2010 when it began assessing Bakken Blend shale oil injected into pipelines at Clearbrook, Minnesota, and Guernsey, Wyoming.

Edited from various sources by Joe Green

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