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More permits, more drilling equals more Pennsylvania natural gas

| Friday, Nov. 3, 2017, 10:27 a.m.

New permits and more drilling helped Pennsylvania's natural gas production reach a new high of 15 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in October, according to the Energy Information Administration.

That represents a 25 percent increase over October 2016 and an 80 percent increase from January 2013.

Overall, the state accounts for 19 percent of the country's natural gas production and most of that is coming from the Marcellus shale formation. Although the formation is spread across Pennsylvania, West Virginia and New York, 76 percent of production from the shale is coming from Pennsylvania.

The Department of Environmental Protection has issued 1,447 permits so far this year, which is more than the 1,371 that it issue in all of 2016. The state has an average of 33 drilling rigs operating daily compared to a daily average of 20 rigs in 2016, according to survey data from Baker Hughes, the agency report.

The three counties that account for most of the drilling are Washington, Greene and Susquehanna. They account for slightly more than half of the total permits and two-thirds of the rig operations, the EIA said.

Much of the new activity anticipates the building of pipelines that will open up more markets for the gas, the agency said.

The Rover Pipeline Project, which will carry 3.25 Bcf/d, and the Nexus Gas Transmission Project, 1.5 Bcf/d, are scheduled to start operations in the first three months of 2018. Two other pipelines have already begun operations and have increased the capacity to move natural gas westward out of southwest Pennsylvania and into New England from northeastern Pennsylvania.

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