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The Department of Energy is predicting another strong month of oil growth from the nation's shale fields in November.
American drillers are poised to increase output in several shale oil and gas regions by another 81,000 barrels a day next month, according to the department's Energy Information Administration.
Total output for November in the areas is forecast to reach 6.12 million barrels a day, continuing a string of growth that is driving a rebound in U.S. oil production. Domestic crude output from all fields was 9.24 million barrels a day in July, the last period for which monthly data are available.
Shale producers use advanced drilling methods like hydraulic fracturing, the process of injecting water, minerals and chemicals underground at high pressure to fracture rock formations and allow oil and gas to flow.
U.S. shale oil and gas regions, source: U.S. Energy Information Administration
This month's oil production from shale regions is now expected to hit 6.04 million barrels a day, down about 44,000 barrels a day from an earlier estimate. This is the second month in a row EIA has knocked down its estimate since changing the way it forecasts shale production in August.
The Permian basin underlying western Texas and southeastern New Mexico continues to lead the pack, though EIA expects the pace of growth to slow. The region's output is poised to increase by 50,000 barrels a day next month.
EIA forecast monthly gains of about 65,000 barrels a day between July and September. Analysts have lately warned that rising service costs and a shortage of highly skilled rig crews will slow growth in the prolific region.
Oklahoma's Anadarko basin and the Rocky Mountain region's Niobrara shale are both expected to increase production by 9,000 barrels a day. North Dakota's Bakken shale should grow output by about 8,000 barrels a day, EIA said.
The Eagle Ford in southern Texas will eke out a 2,000-barrels-a-day gain, EIA projected.
Natural gas production from shale regions is forecast to grow by 827 million cubic feet a day to 60.9 billion cubic feet per day. The Marcellus and Utica shale patches in Appalachia account for nearly half of the growth.