* Texas oil output hits 2.45 million bpd in April -EIA
* North Dakota output nears 800,000 bpd -EIA
(Adds details on growth in horizontal drilling and hydraulic
fracturing, month on month production increases)
By David Sheppard
June 27 (Reuters) – Crude oil production in Texas has jumped
by a third in just 12 months, government figures showed on
Thursday, with booming output driven by the Eagle Ford shale
fields and Permian Basin now outpacing growth in North Dakota.
Oil output in Texas hit 2.45 million barrels per day (bpd)
in April, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its
Petroleum Supply Monthly report, an increase of more than 33
percent in the past year, or more than 600,000 bpd.
At the same time, output in North Dakota, which includes
most of the Bakken shale field at the heart of the U.S. oil
renaissance, rose by 30 percent to 793,000 bpd from 610,000 bpd
over the same period.
The difference in the growth rate, although small, marks the
latest development in the U.S. shale oil boom, which started in
North Dakota but has since spread to states with a longer
tradition of major oil projects.
While North Dakota’s oil output continues to hit new record
levels, the slowdown in the pace of growth has also led some
industry watchers to urge caution.
“North Dakotan growth rates have started to ease as Bakken
output is flattening somewhat,” said Amrita Sen, chief oil
analyst at London-based consultancy Energy Aspects.
“A trend of slightly lower output from each well drilled is
emerging. While cold weather may have played a role, it will
certainly be worth monitoring this trend in the coming months.”
Between March and April, Texas added 85,000 bpd of output,
the EIA data showed, while North Dakota added 10,000 bpd.
The growth in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing –
commonly referred to as “fracking” – has opened up new areas of
production like North Dakota since 2008, where less than 140,000
bpd was previously pumped from conventional wells.
Rapid growth in U.S. oil production has led some to predict
that North America could be energy independent by the end of the
decade, sparking a debate about whether the United States should
loosen its restrictions on exporting domestic oil.
Limited exports to Canada, which are already allowed with a
permit, rose to 132,000 bpd in April, the highest level since
March 2000. Almost half of the exports moving north to Canada
came from the U.S. East Coast, the EIA data showed.
Canada remains a huge net exporter to the United States,
with crude from the oil sands in Alberta flowing into the
(Reporting by David Sheppard and Matthew Robinson; Editing by
David Gregorio, Theodore d’Afflisio and Eric Beech)
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