The federal government wants to keep closer tabs on the “fast-growing” natural gas development in the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania and Utica Shale in Ohio.
“We hope to expand the [monthly 914] survey for data from additional states,” said Jonathan Cogan, a spokesman for the Energy Information Administration (EIA). The agency individually breaks out monthly gas data from five Lower 48 states: Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and Wyoming; and from the Gulf of Mexico (GOM). But the EIA lumps the monthly gas production from the Marcellus Shale into a category with “other states.”
Barbara Mariner-Volpe of EIA’s Office of Energy Statistics is heading up the project to report Marcellus gas and other states separately, Cogan said. One of the options being considered would add individual reports on 14 states to the current five Lower 48 states and the GOM, Mariner-Volpe told NGI.
She said EIA’s ability to expand its reporting of gas production will hinge on three factors: the budget sequestration, the Office of Management and Budget and a favorable decision from EIA Administrator Adam Sieminski, which she believes will be forthcoming.
Cogan could not say what states other than Pennsylvania might be included in the [expanded monthly 914] monthly reports. The EIA currently covers only 65% of the gas production in the United States.
In a recent note, the government agency said gas production in Pennsylvania increased 69% in 2012, despite a reduction in drilling activity (see related story and NGI, March 25). According to EIA, data from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection showed natural gas production in the Keystone State averaged 6.1 Bcf/d in 2012, up from 3.6 Bcf/d in 2011.
“While accelerated drilling in recent years, primarily in the Marcellus Shale formation, significantly boosted Pennsylvania’s natural gas production, increases were restricted by the state’s limited pipeline and processing infrastructure,” the EIA said in late March. “This created a large backlog of wells that were drilled but not brought online.”
The Marcellus Shale covers parts of Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio and New York, and is considered to be the most productive shale gas basin in the country. Currently, the great bulk of production from the formation is in Pennsylvania. Booming shale production also is occurring in Texas and North Dakota.
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