American shale oil drillers will deliver another month of strong growth in February, the U.S. Department of Energy forecast on Tuesday.
Oil output from the nation's major shale oil regions is poised to grow by 111,000 barrels a day next month, according to the latest drilling productivity report from the department's U.S. Energy Information Administration.
EIA expects total production from the seven regions to hit 6.55 million barrels a day in February. The administration also raised its estimate for January production to 6.44 million barrels a day.
Keeping with the trend, the Permian Basin in Texas and New Mexico will account for most of the gains. EIA sees Permian drillers increasing their output by 76,000 barrels a day.
Another Texas shale oil region, the Eagle Ford, is expected to chip in growth of 15,000 barrels a day.
Production from North Dakota's Bakken shale is set to grow by 8,000 barrels a day, while output from the Niobrara shale underlying Colorado and neighboring states will rise by 6,000 barrels a day, EIA says.
Drillers in these regions squeeze oil and gas from shale by pumping water, sand and chemicals underground to fracture rock formations, a process called hydraulic fracturing. Shale drilling is driving the recovery in U.S. oil production following a prolonged slump in oil prices.
Last week, EIA forecast that total U.S. oil output will hit 10.3 million barrels a day, the highest annual average on record. The following year, EIA expects American production to average 10.8 million barrels a day, putting it roughly on par with Saudi Arabia and Russia's output.