For the first time ever, natural gas production out of America’s Marcellus shale region topped 15 billion cubic feet per day last month. Here’s a chart, from the EIA:
While the Bakken and Eagle Ford formations in North Dakota and Texas, respectively, get the lion’s share of attention when people talk about America’s shale revolution, the United States is no two-trick pony. The Marcellus formation, which extends across Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and even into New York (though a moratorium on fracking there has left New York’s portion of the formation untouched), accounts for some 40 percent of US shale gas production. Marcellus production has grown nearly 8 times over from its 2010 levels, and the Energy Information Administration (EIA) expects this to continue as drillers continue to get more gas out of the ground per well:
The rig count in the Marcellus Region has remained steady at around 100 rigs over the past 10 months. Given the continued improvement in drilling productivity, which EIA measures as new-well production per rig, EIA expects natural gas production in the Marcellus Region to continue to grow. With 100 rigs in operation and with each rig supporting more than 6 million cubic feet per day in new-well production each month, new Marcellus Region wells coming online in August are expected to deliver over 600 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d) of additional production.
The U.S. shale boom is multi-nodal, and that’s a good thing—the more diverse an energy mix, the more resilient it is to geologic complexities or natural disasters. This also poses a challenge for getting these new sources of gas to market; just as we’re struggling to build out pipelines to North Dakota, so too are we working to un-kink bottlenecks in the northeast’s gas pipeline network.This flood of shale gas is also driving down natural gas prices in the northeast, so while New York snubs its own shale reserves, its residents are enjoying the fruits of fracking’s labor.