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Today in Energy

August 31, 2015

EIA improves monthly reporting of crude oil production

graph of U.S. crude oil production, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Monthly Crude Oil and Natural Gas Production
Note: Includes lease condensate. Data for 2015 reflect January through June. The EIA-914 survey began collecting monthly data in January 2015.

With the release of the Petroleum Supply Monthly (PSM) later today, EIA is incorporating the first survey-based reporting of monthly crude oil production based on an expansion of its survey program earlier this year. Today's PSM includes EIA's first reporting of June crude oil production. EIA also begins using new survey data from multiple states and regions within the United States, and revises figures previously reported for January through May 2015.

EIA estimates U.S. crude oil production in June 2015 at 9.3 million barrels per day (b/d), a decrease of approximately 100,000 b/d from the revised May 2015 figure. Production estimates released in the PSM for January through May were revised downward by 40,000 b/d to 130,000 b/d. The largest revisions in volume include decreases of oil production in Texas (ranging from about 100,000 b/d to 150,000 b/d) and increases in the federal Gulf of Mexico (ranging from about 10,000 b/d to 50,000 b/d). U.S. crude oil production for the first six months of 2015 averaged 9.4 million b/d.

The expanded survey collects monthly oil production data from a sample of operators of oil and natural gas wells in 15 individual states and the federal Gulf of Mexico; production from all remaining states and the federal Pacific is reported collectively in an "other states" category. The states and regions individually surveyed include Arkansas, California, Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, Wyoming, and the federal Gulf of Mexico.

The survey-based approach improves estimates by representing more than 90% of oil production in the United States. A detailed comparison of estimates using the expanded survey data with the previous methodology will be provided on the Monthly Crude Oil and Natural Gas Production web page later today.

Revised survey-based crude oil production estimates will not be provided in the latest PSM for Oklahoma and West Virginia in the expanded survey because EIA has not completed validation of the new estimates for those states. EIA anticipates revising data for these states in the next few months.

Domestic oil production has grown rapidly in recent years. More recently, with major changes in oil prices over the past year, policymakers and markets are closely watching how domestic production responds. These new data series provide a better way to assess production trends.

EIA's past estimates of U.S. oil production have been based on tax information and other production data obtained directly from state agencies. Given the timetable for EIA's data products, much of that information is lagged and incomplete at the time of publication. For several states, the time from a particular month's originally reported production volume to the time when that same month's reporting could be considered final (i.e., with no revisions or very minimal further revisions) is several months to more than a year. A recent Today in Energy article detailed the challenges these data lags created in states with rapid changes in crude oil production growth, such as Texas.

Crude oil production data collected on the expanded survey are used as inputs to several EIA products, including the Petroleum Supply Monthly and forecasts such as the Short-Term Energy Outlook and the Annual Energy Outlook. Crude oil production data continue to be available in its previous locations on EIA's data pages and will also be presented on EIA's Monthly Crude Oil and Natural Gas Production web page, along with natural gas data from the new expanded survey. Later in 2015, EIA will include estimates of monthly crude oil production by density, as measured by API gravity, for the individually surveyed states and the federal Gulf of Mexico.

Principal contributor: EIA Staff