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July 30, 2015

EIA reports show different aspects of U.S. oil production statistics and trends

graph of U.S. crude oil production, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Petroleum Supply Monthly, Weekly Petroleum Status Report, Drilling Productivity Report, Short-Term Energy Outlook

EIA publishes several reports covering current crude oil and natural gas production conditions and how recent trends may affect the near-term outlook for the oil and gas industry. Each EIA product is distinct in its purpose, methodology, timeframe, and regional coverage. Some reports are considered estimates of actual production volumes, while others focus on future production.

  • The Petroleum Supply Monthly (PSM) reports estimates of crude oil and petroleum products production, imports and exports, movements, and inventories on a national and regional level, lagged by two months. PSM estimates of crude oil production rely on several sources, including administrative data from state and federal agencies, the EIA-182 survey of crude oil purchase volumes, and administrative data from state agencies that is aggregated for EIA by a commercial data vendor. A recent Today in Energy article focused on EIA's approach to developing the PSM production estimates for Texas and their relationship to Texas data from the Texas Railroad Commission.
  • The Weekly Petroleum Status Report (WPSR) is a compilation of data reporting the previous week's U.S. crude oil balance. This balance includes independently developed components that relate to estimates of U.S. crude oil production, imports, refinery runs, exports, and stock changes. The report relies on a number of sources, including EIA surveys and data from other federal agencies, and a crude oil adjustment figure that captures the uncertainty around each of the supply and disposition components. Unlike other reports or products, WPSR data are not re-estimated retroactively; the report is a snapshot in time of the best available information for a given week.
  • The Drilling Productivity Report (DPR) provides a month-ahead projection of oil production for seven of the most significant U.S. tight oil and shale gas formations. It analyzes these formations as regions and includes all counties that have some portion of each tight oil formation as well as conventional resources. To derive a projection for each region, the DPR methodology uses recent data on the total number of drilling rigs, estimated per-rig drilling productivity, and changes in production from existing oil wells. Because tight and conventional oil production occurring in the DPR regions is a subset of total U.S. crude oil production, aggregated values from the DPR will be lower than those in the PSM or WPSR.
  • The Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO) provides onshore production forecasts based on current and projected rig counts, rig and well productivity trends, and decline rates of legacy production. Unlike the DPR, STEO also incorporates a short-term oil price path as one of the drivers used to project rig activity and production volumes 13-24 months into the future. STEO also includes projections of production for the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska using historical data, information about upcoming projects, and seasonal factors such as hurricane-related outages.

These oil production estimates are connected in several ways. PSM estimates are used as one input to the WPSR's weekly estimate of U.S. crude oil production. The STEO forecasts are benchmarked to the latest monthly oil production estimates from the PSM. In addition, the onshore portion of STEO's oil production forecast is informed by the DPR, whose seven regions currently account for more than 70% of total U.S. onshore production.

Principal contributor: Grant Nülle