December 21, 2016

Marcellus and Utica Formations Drive Natural Gas Production Growth

It is no secret that the Marcellus and Utica shale formations have catalyzed an energy renaissance in the Northeast. Recent data released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) sheds some light on just how big of an effect this resource has created, with natural gas production in the U.S. reaching record levels in 2015:

U.S. dry natural gas production continued to increase in 2015, reaching 74.1 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d). This record-high level was a 4.5% (3.2 Bcf/d) increase over 2014, according to EIA’s Natural Gas Annual, which provides final production data for 2015. The increase in 2015 production levels marked the tenth straight annual increase, with the most recent increase occurring despite natural gas prices at the Louisiana Henry Hub declining more than 40% from an average of $4.55 per million British thermal unit (MMBtu) in 2014 to $2.62/MMBtu in 2015.

The EIA notes that Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia – which contain large portions of the Marcellus and Utica shale formations – accounted for most of the total production increase in 2015:

Production gains were highest in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia, due in large part to production from the Marcellus and Utica/Point Pleasant shales. These three states accounted for most of the total increase in 2015. Although annual production in 2015 grew, monthly U.S. natural gas production has since declined in 2016, falling to 71.4 Bcf/d in July 2016 after reaching a peak of 75 Bcf/d in April 2015.

For the third consecutive year, Pennsylvania saw the largest total gain in annual production, increasing to 13 Bcf/d in 2015, up 11.4% from 11.6 Bcf/d in 2014. Ohio saw the largest percentage increase in natural gas production, increasing 49.9%, from 1.3 Bcf/d in 2014 to 2.6 Bcf/d in 2015.

This regional supply of natural gas holds great promise for businesses, homeowners, and consumers. Continuing increases in production underscore the pressing need for midstream infrastructure like the Rover Pipeline – simply put, markets throughout these states still lack the means to access resources that are being developed in their own backyard. The Coalition for the Expansion of Pipeline Infrastructure urges the FERC to recognize the critical importance of the Rover Pipeline in both supporting gas producers and meeting regional demand. FERC should approve Rover in an expedient manner.