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Appalachia region drives growth in US natural gas production since 2012

Appalachia

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Drilling Productivity Report and Natural Gas Monthly, Nov.  2017, Appalachia region

 Average lateral length per well in West Virginia increased from 2,500 feet in 2007 to over 7,000 feet in 2016

Shale gas production in the Appalachia region has increased rapidly since 2012, driving an overall increase in U.S. natural gas production, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

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 Oct. 2017.

graph of average new well natural gas produciton per rig in selected regions, as explained in the article text

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Drilling Productivity Report, Nov. 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 Jan. 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.

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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 Appalachia 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.

Map of wells in the Marcellus and Utica regions, as of January 2012, as described in the article text

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, based on DrillingInfo, Inc., Appalachian Oil and Natural Gas Research Consortium, and U.S. Geological Survey

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 Nov. 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.

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Posted in: USA

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