The latest EIA data on natural gas reserves indicates the Marcellus Shale region is at the head of a glorious shale revolution, leading the way forward.
The Energy Information Administration (EIA) is out with some new data on natural gas reserves that is simply astounding. It shows the Marcellus Shale region is leading the shale revolution by every measure that counts for anything. The region, in fact, is leaving Texas in the dust when it comes to shale gas.
The new data comes in the form of report withe innocuous title of “U.S. Crude Oil and Natural Gas Proved Reserves, Year-end 2017.” It’s anything but.
The easiest way to convey the significance of the Marcellus Shale region is to simply share the principal table at the heart of the report (note the second column labeled “2016 production” should be labeled “2017 production”):
Here are the key points:
- The Marcellus Shale region (Pennsylvania and west Virginia) represented 6.9 trillion cubic feet of production or 37% of all US shale production in 2017. The closest competitor was the Permian Basin, which had but 2.2 trillion cubic feet of production or 12% of US production.
- Marcellus Shale region production was up 0.6 trillion cubic feet or 9.5% over 2016. The Permian Basin was up 0.5 trillion cubic feet, meaning the former is gaining on the latter.
- Marcellus Shale region reserves grew by an incredible 39.7 trillion cubic feet or 47% over 2016. This accounted for 40% of all US growth in shale gas reserves.
- Marcellus Shale region reserves at 123.8 trillion cubic feet also represent 40% of all US shale gas reserves in total. The next largest reserve is the Haynesville Shale region with 35.9 trillion cubic feet.
Here’s how things stack up state by state insofar as total natural gas reserves:
Note there is Texas, Pennsylvania and then all the rest, none of whom come close. But, Pennsylvania is challenging Texas, as the following chart illustrates:
Yes, Pennsylvania added more in natural gas reserves than Texas between 2016 and 2017. It also has more shale gas reserves than Texas as this chart demonstrates:
The prospects for Pennsylvania beating out Texas in total natural gas production are also great, as shale is becoming the dominant source of natural gas in the US. It’s no longer unconventional by any standard but, rather, the way gas is produced today.
The Marcellus Shale region and, by inclusion, Pennsylvania are leading the way as the shale revolution delivers inexpensive energy, cleans the air and rural economic development. It’s a beautiful thing.
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