US shale oil growth to slow in October as Harvey takes a toll, Department of Energy reports

Key Points
  • Oil production growth from key U.S. shale regions will slow down in October, the Energy Information Administration projected.
  • EIA forecasts shale oil output will grow by 79,000 barrels a day next month.
  • Production from Texas' Eagle Ford region was revised down due in part to impacts from Hurricane Harvey.
Workers with Raven Drilling line up pipe while drilling for oil in the Bakken shale formation outside Watford City, North Dakota.
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Surging production from U.S. shale fields is set to moderate next month, the Department of Energy's information arm forecast on Monday.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration projected crude oil output from several shale oil- and gas-producing regions will grow by 79,000 barrels a day in October. That marked the first time in seven months EIA's growth forecast came in below 100,000 barrels a day.

Total production for October is set to reach 6.08 million barrels a day, according to EIA.

Production from the Eagle Ford, a prolific oil-producing region in Texas, was revised down due in part to impacts from Hurricane Harvey. The storm forced some drillers to idle rigs last month as the devastating storm approached southeastern Texas.

U.S. shale producers use advanced drilling methods such as hydraulic fracturing to free oil and gas from rock formations. The so-called frackers have driven a drilling recovery in the United States this year.

The EIA revised down its outlook for U.S. shale oil production in September by 145,000 barrels a day to just over 6 million barrels a day. It previously estimated this month's production would be 6.15 million barrels a day.

Shale drillers in the Permian basin, the epicenter of the production rebound, are poised to grow output by 55,000 barrels a day, EIA said.

The Rocky Mountain-area Niobrara region and the Anadarko, located primarily in Oklahoma, are expected to post growth of 13,000 and 10,000 barrels a day, respectively. EIA expects North Dakota's Bakken shale output to rise by 8,000 barrels a day in October.

Meanwhile, the Eagle Ford is expected to see production slip by 9,000 barrels a day, due to the impact from Harvey and a separate downward revision to earlier data, EIA said.

Oil market watchers have been bracing for a slowdown in the U.S. oil patch because a weekly count of rigs has been falling recently. Baker Hughes reported on Friday that its U.S. rig count fell by seven rigs to the lowest level since June.