According to a recent report by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), Pennsylvania’s marketed natural gas production in 2017 averaged a record 15 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d), 3 percent higher than 2016 levels.
Production is mainly from shale plays in the Appalachian Basin, EIA stated. Pennsylvania, on the whole, accounted for 19 percent of total U.S. marketed natural gas production. It also produced more natural gas than any other state with the exception of Texas.
Expansion of regional pipeline capacity is largely responsible for the commonwealth’s increase in permitting and drilling activity. Pennsylvania issued 1,352 natural gas drilling permits in 2016 compared to the 2,038 permits in 2017, according to the state Department of Environmental Protection. Additionally, the drilling rig count has increased from 20 rigs in 2016 to 33 in 2017. Washington and Greene counties in southwestern Pennsylvania and Susquehanna County in northeastern Pennsylvania have the highest number of permits and rigs.
Natural gas production in Pennsylvania had previously outpaced the ability of regional infrastructure to process and transport it out of the region. The continued expansion of pipeline projects and capacities in recent years have helped increase the state’s overall natural gas productivity.
EIA predicts a continued rise in marketed natural gas production in the Appalachian Basin, which may lead to the need for additional pipeline capacity. Two current pipeline projects, the 3.25 Bcf/d Rover Pipeline and the 1.5 Bcf/d NEXUS Gas Transmission projects, are expected to begin operations within the next few months.