Drilling in the Haynesville Shale helped Louisiana more than double its natural gas production in April from two years ago, and production in the Lower 48 states increased 10.6% (6.66 Bcf/d) to 69.05 Bcf/d during the same time period, according to the Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) monthly natural gas report.

The EIA said Louisiana production reached 8.15 Bcf/d in April 2011, up 102% (4.12 Bcf/d) from the 4.03 Bcf/d mark set in April 2009 and 2% (160 MMcf/d) higher than the 7.99 Bcf/d produced in March 2011.

The EIA said drilling activity in the Haynesville and Marcellus shales was largely responsible for the growth in Louisiana and in the nontraditional producing states. After Texas and Alaska, Louisiana ranks third in natural gas production, surpassing Wyoming in November 2010.

Monthly production in nontraditional producing states grew 2.1% to 18.49 Bcf/d in April, the latest month for which production figures were available. Meanwhile, Oklahoma increased 1.8% to 5.15 Bcf/d; Wyoming increased 0.9% to 6.51 Bcf/d; and Texas increased 0.7 % to 21.65 Bcf/d. The 69.05 Bcf/d mark achieved in the Lower 48 states was a 1.1% increase from March, while total U.S. output rose 0.5% to 78.58 Bcf/d.

Some states posted declines in production, most notably Alaska, which was off 3.1% to 9.53 Bcf/d; and New Mexico, which fell 1.3% to 3.66 Bcf/d. Production in the federal offshore Gulf of Mexico also declined 1.4% to 5.44 Bcf/d, making April the fourth straight month of decline and the 11th in the last 14 months.

Imports of natural gas fell to about 280 Bcf in April, down 11% (35 Bcf) from March. The U.S. imported 33 Bcf of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in April, a decrease of 13% (5 Bcf) from March. About one-third of the imported LNG (10.5 Bcf) came from Trinidad and Tobago while other major suppliers included Peru, Yemen, Egypt and Qatar.

Exports of natural gas also declined — falling to 12% (18 Bcf) to 127 Bcf in April — but exports of LNG rose 60% to nearly 8 Bcf. The EIA said exports and re-exports of LNG went to Japan, South Korea, Japan and Mexico.

The combined import and export figures resulted in a net import of 153 Bcf of natural gas in April, about an 11% decline (18 Bcf) from March. Natural gas pipelines to Canada and Mexico handled 88% of imports and 94% of exports in April.