The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) has released the Drilling Productivity Report on the six key oil and natural gas regions across America estimating production rates for the month of December.
In it, they predict that the Marcellus region, located in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, is expected to exceed 13 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d). This is substantial growth considering that as recently as 2010 the Marcellus region produced less than 2 Bcf/d; it is expected to provide an estimated 18 percent of the total U.S. natural gas production this month.
The six regions of this report account for nearly 90 percent of domestic oil production growth and virtually all domestic natural gas production growth during 2011 – 2012. The majority of the other five oil and natural gas regions also saw an increase in their production rates but none as dramatic as that of the Marcellus area.
The increase in production volumes has been largely driven by the efficiency of new wells as the number of drilling rigs in the area has remained relatively flat in recent months; technological advances have led the way to the widespread use of new oil and natural gas extraction. Also, production growth has been boosted by the increased output from previously shut-in wells or wells that were operation at reduced volume because of constraints in takeaway capacity in the region.
West Virginia and Pennsylvania have had recent infrastructure upgrades that have help with production volumes. Expansion projects to be completed by 2013 should add to the expected output by at least 3.5 Bcf/d of takeaway capacity to the New York/New Jersey and Mid-Atlantic markets.
The full report which includes production estimates, rig counts, new well production, and monthly changes in production for the six key oil and natural gas production regions can be found here.