DENVER and HOUSTON, Aug. 21, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Oil production from shale formations in North Dakota and Texas increased by more than 86,000 barrels per day (b/d) or 3.4% in July, according to Bentek Energy, an analytics and forecasting unit of Platts, a leading global provider of energy, petrochemicals, metals and agriculture information. In North Dakota, the active oil rig count is close to 200 and the highest level in nearly two years, according to Jack Weixel, Bentek Energy director of energy analysis. "Oil production gains from the Bakken and Eagle Ford shale formations are a major reason why U.S. imports of crude oil have dropped to levels not seen since the mid-1990s," said Weixel. Bentek data analysis showed that from July 2013 to July 2014, total U.S. crude oil production increased more than 1.5 million b/d. Crude oil production in the North Dakota section of the Bakken shale formation of the Williston Basin averaged nearly 1.2 million b/d in July, according to Bentek. This was 280,000 b/d higher than the July 2013 level. Oil production from the Eagle Ford formation averaged 1.5 million b/d last month, up 411,000 b/d from July 2013. "Prices of Eagle Ford Shale crude dropped nearly $12 per barrel (/b) from mid-July through mid-August, while the price of Bakken crude fell $7.38/b during that time period," said Richard Capuchino, Platts managing editor of Americas crude. The Platts Eagle Ford Marker, a daily price assessment that was launched in October 2012and reflects the value of oil from the Eagle Ford Shale formation in South Texas, was $98.77/b on August 18 after reaching an intra-month high of $110.71/b on July 23. The downward price movement was largely attributed to weakness in the price of Light Louisiana Sweet (LLS), the basis for the Eagle Ford Marker. As reported by Platts, low demand in a thin market, as well as government data showing an increase in crude inventories in the U.S. Gulf Coast put pressure on prices of LLS and dragged down values for the Platts Eagle Ford Marker. The monthly price performance of oil from the Bakken formation at Williston, North Dakota, ranged from a low on August 18 of $84.65/b and a high of $92.03/b on July 17, according to the Platts Bakken data. The Platts Bakken, introduced earlier this year , is a daily assessment of price for oil closest to the wellhead prior to determination of transportation by rail or pipe. The assessment reflects a sulfur content of 0.2% or less and an American Petroleum Institute (API)** gravity of 42 or less, similar to the nature of North Dakota Light Sweet crude. The Platts Eagle Ford Marker reflects the value of a median 47-API Eagle Ford crude barrel, based on the crude's product yields and Platts product price assessments, adjusted for U.S. Gulf Coast logistics. Platts introduced the world's first independent daily price reference valuing crude oil produced from a shale formation in May 2010 when it began assessing Bakken Blend shale oil injected into pipelines at Clearbrook, Minnesota, and Guernsey, Wyoming. Platts began publishing its Platts Bakken assessment on April 22. For more information on Platts' price assessments methodology visit these links: Details of Platts Bakken and Platts Eagle Ford Marker. Bentek Energy's shale oil production figures are derived from proprietary data models using publicly available data. For more information on data models, reports or Bentek's methodology, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Platts will publish monthly updates via press release on Bakken and Eagle Ford shale oil production and price data.