The Lower 48 states showed natural gas production gains of 9% from December 2009 to December 2010, led by a major jump in Louisiana production and in shale gas production in areas outside the traditional large producing states, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said Monday.

The agency reported that Lower 48 production rose to 66.76 Bcf/d in December from the 61.18 Bcf/d in December 2009. The December 2010 figure was up just 0.2% from the 66.60 Bcf/d recorded in November. Total U.S. production, including Alaska, was 76.97 Bcf/d in December, the latest period for which production figures were available.

Of the Lower 48 states, Louisiana had the biggest percentage increase, with its production rising 50% from 4.77 Bcf/d in December 2009 to 7.20 Bcf/d in December 2010, due mainly to the Haynesville Shale.

The next largest year-over-year jump in December came from shale gas in states outside the traditional producing states. That total, which EIA labels simply "other states," was up 18% from 14.57 Bcf/d in December 2009 to 17.25 Bcf/d in December 2010.

Texas climbed a little more than 6% from 19.79 Bcf/d to 21.11 Bcf/d year-to-year, while offshore production from the federal Gulf of Mexico (GOM) dropped from 6.43 Bcf/d in December 2009 to 5.85 Bcf/d in December 2010. Wyoming also saw a decrease from 7.06 Bcf/d in December 2009 to 6.68 Bcf/d in 2010. Oklahoma and New Mexico were up just slightly.

Month-to-month production from November to December 2010 was up just slightly in Louisiana and in the "other states" and down slightly in the rest of the traditional Lower 48 large producing states. Gas production in Alaska came in at 10.21 Bcf/d, an increase of 7.1% from November.

Natural gas production in the federal portion of the GOM rose to 5.85 Bcf/d in December from 5.72 Bcf/d in November, the EIA said. "As production resumed after platform maintenance and pipeline repairs [in November], the federal offshore Gulf of Mexico gained 2.3% or 0.13 Bcf/d."

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