Pennsylvania’s unconventional gas wells continued to blast production records out of the water last year, pumping out nearly 4 trillion cubic feet of gas.
According to data the state Department of Environmental Protection released Tuesday, operators working in the Marcellus Shale industry reported producing nearly 1 trillion cubic feet more gas in 2014 than in 2013, increasing overall production by more than 30 percent.
“Economic growth from natural gas production has translated to increased disposable income for families and more profitable businesses,” Frank Macchiarola, an executive vice president for the trade group America’s Natural Gas Alliance, said in a prepared statement. “Pennsylvania also is supplying the rest of the country with abundant natural gas and helping to power America.”
Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. claimed the industry’s 16 top-producing wells in last year’s second half. Those wells produced a combined 55.7 billion cubic feet of natural gas — enough to heat roughly 780,000 homes — between July and December.
At the head of the pack, Chesapeake Appalachia LLC, with the bulk of its 650 active wells in Bradford County, produced more than 788 billion cubic feet in 2014, a 16 percent increase from the year before.
Production in drilling counties surrounding Lackawanna County rose considerably with 48 percent more gas coming out of Wyoming County, a 33 percent increase from Susquehanna County and 14 percent more from Bradford.
Latest numbers from the federal Energy Information Administration show the gas fields in Pennsylvania and West Virginia make up the lion’s share, about 37 percent, of the nation’s daily production..
All major gas developers that use hydraulic fracturing or fracking to retrieve gas from Pennsylvania saw gains in 2014 over the previous year.
Talisman Energy USA Inc., a company that actually suffered shrinking production in 2013, bounced back with a 6 percent increase over last year.
The data, which is released twice a year, gives operators a rare chance to rate their production against the competition, Cabot Oil & Gas external affairs director George Stark said.
Just about all of Cabot’s 340 active wells are in Susquehanna County, dubbed the “sweet spot of the Marcellus.”
“We don’t have that many (wells), and yet we’re producing this strong,” Mr. Stark said.
Cabot hopes to see the growth continue, Mr. Stark said, but the gas needs a delivery system, and pipeline construction has chronically trailed production.
Mr. Stark said two interstate pipelines now in pre-construction phases would carry Marcellus gas from wells in Susquehanna County to customers in New England all the way to Georgia and could supercharge the entire industry.
“We’ve demonstrated the production, and it’s going to be here,” Mr. Stark said. “Once we get the lines, like Constitution and Atlantic Sunrise, we have evidence that we’ll be able to deliver the gas.”
This article was written by Jon O’Connell from The Times-Tribune, Scranton, Pa. and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.