EIA assembles new data set to track shale well production changes

By Luke Geiver | December 03, 2019

The U.S. Energy Information Administration is now tracking how productive the oil and gas sector’s wells are performing over time. The EIA, with data from Drillinginfo, has created a new report and series of tables to show how shale oil and gas development is changing on the well site.

“One way of developing deeper insight into the rapid growth in U.S. oil and natural gas production over the past few years, driven by technological innovation in drilling and production, is to probe how U.S. oil and natural gas wells have changed,” EIA said.

According to Data obtained by the EIA, Technological change is reflected in how the share of horizontal wells over the past decade increased from 3 percent to 12 percent (2008-2017). As a result, most U.S. oil and natural gas production comes from wells producing between 100 barrels of oil equivalent per day boe/d and 3,200 boe/d. Interestingly, EIA says, the share of U.S. oil and natural gas wells producing less than 15 BOE/d has remained surprisingly steady at 80 percent from 2000 through 2017.

Data availability for the EIA’s report varies by state. Some states provide production on a producing well as early as one month after initial production starts. Other states take as many as 18 months to provide data.

From the data, the EIA shows that the total number of operating U.S. oil and gas wells has actually decreased (five percent) after peaking in 2014. However, the total number of horizontally drilled wells has increased 28 percent to reach 126,000 wells in 2017. Horizontal wells drilled in shale formations are now the most prolific producers in the entire U.S.

To see the full report, which includes well data statistics from 2000 to 2017, click here.