Gas production from Marcellus shale sets record despite fewer new wells going online
Pennsylvania drillers are pulling record amounts of natural gas from the Marcellus shale even as they bring fewer new wells online, according to state data released on Monday.
About 5,400 shale wells produced nearly 2 trillion cubic feet of gas during the first six months of the year, a 14 percent increase in production over the past six months of 2013, the data from the state Department of Environmental Protection show.
Energy companies accomplished the record despite connecting fewer than 500 new wells during the period. Previous semiannual reports showed an average of 675 new wells every six months.
“We're seeing the results of technical developments that allow much greater efficiency,” said Kent Moors, executive chair of the global energy symposium at the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh.
Increased production combined with lower demand from a cool summer has depressed prices, prompting companies to squeeze more gas from wells with new techniques. Ten years of drilling in the shale formation about 6,000 feet below Pennsylvania has helped companies fine-tune their approach, Moors said.
Companies have bragged to investors about longer horizontal sections that reach more gas and take less time to connect to pipelines.
“Our efficiencies are wonderful. The laterals are longer. We're drilling wells in shorter timeframes,” said David J. Spigelmyer, president of the Marcellus Shale Coalition, a North Fayette-based lobbyist.
He predicted the year-end gas total would eclipse 4 trillion cubic feet, which would account for 20 percent of the gas produced in the United States.
Moors and Spigelmyer said production remains strongest in the southwest and northeast corners of the state, though exploration of the deeper Utica shale might help spread some wells north during the next few years.
The DEP data showed Susquehanna and Bradford counties accounted for the highest amount of production, with wells pumping out more than 400 million cubic feet in each county. In Western Pennsylvania, 758 Washington County wells produced nearly 200 million cubic feet of gas, and 528 wells in Greene County produced 172 million cubic feet.
David Conti is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5802 or email@example.com.
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.
- Energy Department OKs loan of $259M to Alcoa to promote clean energy
- Stocks fall for 4th straight day; oil surges on Yemen strikes
- Michigan man takes Heinz to court over Dip & Squeeze ketchup packet
- Federal government eyes regulation of payday lending
- Pittsburgh angles to keep Heinz headquarters in merger
- Court approves LightSquared’s bankruptcy exit plan
- Toyota to carry new attitude into production
- Stop foreign dumping, U.S. Steel CEO Longhi tells Congress
- Federal Trade Commission cracks down on crooked vehicle sales
- Heinz merging with Kraft in mega-deal; headquarters to stay in Pittsburgh
- One secret Facebook doesn’t want you to know