Report: Number of drilled but uncompleted oil and gas wells in U.S. continues to rise |

Report: Number of drilled but uncompleted oil and gas wells in U.S. continues to rise

Stephen Huba
Tribune-Review File
A pond below a drilling rig used to extract natural gas from the Marcellus Shale in Washington County is shown in 2008.

The number of drilled but uncompleted wells in the United States has increased over the last two years, reaching a high of 8,504 wells in February, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

The most recent well counts in EIA’s Drilling Productivity Report showed 8,500 wells in March — 26% more than in March 2018.

Drilled but uncompleted wells are oil and natural gas wells that have been drilled but have not yet undergone well completion activities, such as casing, cementing, perforating and hydraulic fracturing, according to EIA.

Factors contributing to the increase since late 2016 may include low oil and natural gas prices, the lack of available well completion crews and an insufficient pipeline infrastructure, EIA said. Low prices may postpone well completion activities in areas where the wellhead break-even price is too high relative to the current market price.

Most of the recent increase in the drilled-but-uncompleted count has been in regions dominated by oil production, especially the Permian region that spans western Texas and eastern New Mexico, EIA said.

The number of drilled but uncompleted wells in natural gas-dominated areas, however, has declined by nearly half over the past three years — from 1,230 wells in March 2016 to 713 wells in March 2019. New pipelines in the Appalachian and Haynesville regions have increased the ability to transport natural gas to demand centers in the Northeast and Midwest, EIA said.

Stephen Huba is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Stephen at 724-850-1280, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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