Appalachia Region Shale Gas Is Key to Domestic Production

Natural Gas NOWConnie Mellin
Natural Gas NOW


We can thank the Appalachia Region shale gas, mostly Marcellus and Utica, for the rapid increase in natural gas production we have seen in United States.

As the technology for hydraulic fracturing evolves and perfects, natural gas production increases. This is exactly what we are seeing now in in the Appalachia region. As a result, natural gas production from the Marcellus and Utica regions have increased tremendously since 2012, up by more than 14 billion cubic feet per day.  Drilling a natural gas well can be completed in a week with longer lateral lengths.  Where in just a few short years ago it would take a month and the lateral lengths were much shorter.

Appalachia Region

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) has posted an excellent report which explains the increased production and efficiency in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing.

Appalachia Region

Shale gas production in the Appalachia region has increased rapidly since 2012, driving an overall increase in U.S. natural gas production. According to EIA’s Drilling Productivity Report, natural gas production in the Appalachia region—namely the Marcellus and Utica shale plays—has increased by more than 14 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) since 2012. Overall Appalachian natural gas production grew from 7.8 Bcf/d in 2012 to 22.1 Bcf/d in 2016 and was 23.8 Bcf/d in 2017, based on EIA data through October 2017.

Drilling wells in the Appalachia region has become very productive. The average monthly natural gas production per rig for new wells in the Appalachia region increased by 10.8 million cubic feet per day since January 2012. EIA attributes this increase to efficiency improvements in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing in the region, which include faster drilling, longer laterals, advancements in technology, and better targeting of wells.

For example, in West Virginia, the average lateral length per well has increased from about 2,500 feet in 2007 to more than 7,000 feet in 2016. Some operators have recorded lateral lengths as long as 15,000 feet in the Marcellus and 19,000 feet in the Utica. Along with longer horizontal drilling, the days it takes for completion have decreased from about 30 days in 2011 to 7 days in 2015.

Appalachia Region

Appalachia Region

The Marcellus shale extends from New York in the north to Kentucky and Tennessee in the south and is the most productive natural gas-producing formation in the Appalachian Basin. The formation’s footprint covers about 95,000 square miles. Dry natural gas wells in the Marcellus are mostly located in the eastern portion of the play, and liquids-rich wells are typically located in the western portion.

The Utica Play consists of two stacked geological units: the Utica and Point Pleasant formations. These formations are older—and therefore deeper—than the Marcellus formation. The Utica play spans about 60,000 square miles across Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New York.

Drilling in the Marcellus Shale began in 2003 in Pennsylvania and was followed by drilling in West Virginia. In 2010 drilling began in the deeper Utica and Point Pleasant formations in Ohio and has more recently started in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. As of November 2017, more than 1,800 wells have been drilled in the Utica-Point Pleasant, and more than 11,300 wells have been drilled in the Marcellus.

I am sure technology will continue to advance the process of hydraulic fracturing, resulting in even higher production totals.

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3 thoughts on “Appalachia Region Shale Gas Is Key to Domestic Production

  1. Pingback: DEP Throws Taxpayer Money at Coal Lawyer to Punish Gas?Natural Gas Now

  2. Some real world perspective on both the size and – crucially – the low cost production of Appalachian Basin gas …
    In a few years’ time, there is a high probability that gas extracted from Washington county, Bemont, Marshall counties will be shipped to the Gulf, refrigerated, put on ships, and sent to a FSRU off the coast of Melbourne, Australia.
    Biggest reason being it may be cheaper to do that than extract and deliver domestic Aussie gas located barely a thousand miles away.

    That is just the start.

    Dramatic improvements are allowing LNG implementation and adoption to go global,at a dizzying pace.
    Tellurian’s Driftwood project will cut the cost of LNG build out in half.
    The proposed 4 ship FLNG operation from Golar and Delfin will lower costs much further yet.

    PTT’s decision on a second cracker is expected imminently, and hopes are high.
    That positive decision, along with the proposed $83 billion investment from China in West Virginia, will alter the economics in your area for generations to come.

    But, wanna hear something folks?

    None of this will happen if the anti fossil fuel folks hold sway, and they are fighting ferociously.

    They are the ones contacting government officials.
    They are the ones regularly holding meetings to both discuss and implement strategies.
    They are the ones whose influence brought the halt of a multi billion dollar pipeline (Mariner East 2), when less than a gallon of a water/bentonite mix spills.
    Bentonite, FYI, is ingested by some holistic folks as a health giving agent.

    The only thing more tragic, more insane, than these motivated, delusional individuals stifling the vast benefits of Appalachian hydrocarbon development is if the vast, minimally involved populace (that’s you, your families and neighbors) allows it to happen.

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