What’s the production level in Eagle Ford and how does it compare to some forecasts I’ve mentioned?

A reader asked me about the production levels in Eagle Ford. That got me looking at my past posts and wanting to get some more info. So here’s the result of my checking.

I don’t yet know how to read the production data at the Texas Railroad Commission’s website. For other newbies like me, they are the regulators for oil drilling in Texas.

That means I will rely on reporting from others, like this info from Bloomberg on 9-21-12, Eagle Ford Oil Production Above 310,000 Barrels a Day in July:

The nine fields that make up the majority of the 400-mile-long (644-kilometer) play pumped out 310,370 barrels a day, preliminary data on the Texas Railroad Commission’s website showed. That’s up from a revised count of 309,979 barrels a day in June, and 120,532 a day in July 2011.

The fields produced 51,676 barrels a day of condensate and 1.21 billion cubic feet a day of natural gas in July.

Eagle Ford Shale reports the same numbers in their post, TX RRC Data – Eagle Ford Production Surging Ahead. In that post, Mr. Dukes guesses that late reporting could lead to upward revision of 40K bopd.

Here’s the reported data for July:

  • Oil – 310,370 bopd
  • Condensate – 51,676 bopd
  • Natural gas – 1.21 billion cubic feet/day

My little brain doesn’t understand how to combine those.

Walk with me as I expand my brain. I’ve read in various places that the oil and condensate amounts can simply be added together. Natural gas amounts need to be converted to an equivalent measure. My nimble fingers found this conversion at Wikipedia:

The barrel of oil equivalent (BOE) is a unit of energy based on the approximate energy released by burning one barrel (42 US gallons or 158.9873 litres) of crude oil.

One BOE is roughly equivalent to 5,800 cubic feet of natural gas or 58 CCF. The USGS gives a figure of 6,000 cubic feet (170 cubic meters) of typical natural gas.

I’ll go with 6,000 cubic feet = 1 BOE.

So, 1.21 billion cubic feet/day divided by 6,000 gives 201,667 BOE.

If I’m on track, that means there’s 310k bopd of oil plus 52k bopd condensate plus 202K BOE per day of natural gas combined into an oil equivalent output of about 564k per day.

Past comments on production levels

How does that compare to what I’ve mentioned in the past?

In this post, I quoted an RBN Energy comment:

Eagle Ford crude production is close to 600 Mb/d as of July 2012. Most forecasts show that number increasing to about 1,200 Mb/d over the next five years.

Ok, that comment of “close to 600” roughly fits with what I calculated of 564k.

In this post, I said:

EIA reports the expected production of oil and condensate is expected to hit 500,000 barrels per day in April.

The EIA report here, said:

  • Increased drilling and rig deployment translated into higher crude oil and condensate production, which is projected to average over 500 thousand barrels per day (bbl/d) in April, up from 182 thousand bbl/d in April 2011.
  • Current Eagle Ford area natural gas production is about two billion cubic feet per day.

It looks like that EIA report is far higher than the actual amounts in July (over 500k oil and condensate and about 2B gas in the EIA report versus 361k and 1.21B). Or the EIA report defines in a larger area.  Or I don’t understand what I’m reading. Or the EIA forecast data is somehow incorrect.

My brain can’t reconcile the two sets of data, so I’ll go with the reports on actual production for July instead of the EIA’s forecast for April.

So where does that fit on the UT San Antonio report?

In this post, I calculated that on the moderate scenario forecast (page 70), the oil and condensate were at the level forecast for 2014.  I calculated the 2B natural gas amount was at the level forecast for 2017, again on the moderate forecast.

I think that doesn’t work anymore. So I’ll try that calc again.

Instead of the amounts on the EIA forecast, I’ll use the July actuals.

Oil of 310,370 bopd is 113,285 thousand barrels per year.  That would be at the late ’14 or early ‘15 level on the moderate scenario.

Condensate of 51,676 bopd is 18,862 thousand barrels, which is far below the forecast in ’12.

Natural gas of 1.21 billion cubic feet/day is 441,650 billion per year, or slightly below the average for ’12, which would probably put it on track for the moderate.

So in terms of the moderate scenario forecast, oil is ahead of the forecast, condensate is below, and natural gas is on track to hit the forecast.

Instead of being above the moderate scenario, it looks like Eagle Ford is right on track for the moderate scenario of the UTSA analysis.

Am I going the right direction?

I’ve laid out a lot of my thought process. For my readers who know a whole lot more than me, could you let me know if it looks like I’m going the right direction?  What did I miss? Anyplace I went off track in my calculations?

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