Production volumes from the Scoop Stack have been relatively flat over the past few years and GlobalData predicts that overall production will increase slightly till 2022 then will begin a slow decline even if there is a general reduction in capital expenditure allocated to this play. In October 2018 there were 75 oil and natural gas drilling rigs in the Scoop Stack within the Anadarko Basin in Oklahoma and one year later only 54 were remaining. Also the number of drilled but uncompleted wells (DUCs) in the Scoop Stack peaked in January of last year with 409, which usually suggests lower drilling activity following the peak. By October 2019, 290 DUCs remained, a decreate of approximately 29% throughout 2019.
With drilling rigs becoming more efficient, key operators in this area have been able to maintain production while cutting the amount of capital deployed to this area. In 2018 Cimarex Energy Company allocated approximately 30% of its overall capital to the Scoop Stack and in 2019 the value dropped to 15%. The change in capital was shifted to the Permian Basin where the company is producing with better economics and a higher oil cut in production. Also the Scoop Stack area has an average oil cut of 31% while the Permian, Bakken, and Eagle Ford have oil cut of 65%, 72%, and 50%, respectively. This also explains the shift of capex to oilier plays given the current low price of natural gas. Natural gas prices in the US have averaged below $2.60 per million BTU for 2019.
Major operators like Cimarex Energy, Continental Resources, and Devon Energy have all decreased their drilling and completions days by 20% on average GlobalData sees production from the Scoop Stack increasing gradually to 2022 and then declining in the future, after the DUC stock is depleted. In the unconventional plays increasing the efficiency with respect to drilling, times has become as important as increasing the productivity of wells. These two aspects explain much of the resilience shown by shale-related production in the US which continues to be reflected through sustained production and competitive break-even prices.