Marcellus shale gas yield mushrooms
Natural gas production from the Marcellus shale region is growing more quickly than expected, according to a federal report issued on Tuesday.
Marcellus production has reached 12 billion cubic feet a day, the Energy Information Administration report found. That's the energy equivalent of about 2 million barrels of oil a day, and more than six times the 2009 production rate.
For perspective, if the Marcellus Shale region were a country, its natural gas production would rank eighth in the world. The Marcellus now produces more natural gas than Saudi Arabia, and that glut has led to wholesale prices here that are about one-quarter of those in Japan, for example.
The vast majority of the Marcellus gas is coming from Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The shale lies under other states, but most of the wells in Ohio produce oil, and New York has placed a moratorium on shale gas drilling.
Federal energy experts are surprised by the rapid Marcellus growth, because the number of drilling rigs has fallen during the past two years.
“A year ago, we were not expecting the Marcellus to be at 12 billion cubic feet,” said Sam Gorgen of the EIA, a part of the Department of Energy.
Marcellus production is higher than the predictions of Terry Engelder, a Penn State University geologist who has drawn praise and criticism for his estimates of how much gas the region holds. Engelder had predicted that the Marcellus wouldn't reach the 12 billion cubic foot rate until 2015, and some critics said that was overly optimistic.
“This is spectacular, relative to what we thought a few years ago,” Engelder said of the approximately 4,000 wells in Pennsylvania that are producing.
The EIA looked at the decline rate of the Marcellus wells, because most of their gas production occurs during the first two years.
“It's interesting that it's not falling as steeply” as other shale fields, such as the Bakken in North Dakota and Eagle Ford in Texas, Gorgen said.
Travis Windle, a spokesman for the Marcellus Shale Coalition, an industry group, said “shale production continues to soar” in the region, and the number of active drilling rigs is slowly increasing.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- FAA: Cockpit email system reduces delays
- Financial planning for disabled people a little-tapped field
- AT&T evolves beyond phones
- Taxes matter in fund investing, even when there’s no bill
- This robot is cute, artificially intelligent and employed
- How to cover work history gaps
- Keep pesky neighbors from stealing your Internet
- Murray, Alpha notify West Virginia coal miners of layoffs
- Pa. sees widespread job gains; jobless rate holds at 5.3%
- Drenching rains green pastures, bode well for cattle herd expansion in Great Plains
- Developer hopes to make Allegheny Center a tech hub