Despite dry gas production curtailments and rig lay-downs nationwide, Northeast production will grow by 1 Bcf/d from its current 8.3 Bcf/d by the end of the year as the Marcellus Shale “seems impervious to the unfavorable economics,” Bentek Energy LLC said in its Forward Curve Quarterly.

The analytics firm said roughly half that growth is being driven by the dry gas region in Northeast Pennsylvania.

“The lack of infrastructure in the region has left an inventory of approximately 1,000 wells that are ready to fill the new pipeline expansions expected later this year (mostly in Q4),” Bentek said. “The remainder of the 1 Bcf is expected to come from the Southwest wet Marcellus, where the rig fleet has doubled since the beginning of 2012 as producers shift investment toward the liquids-rich regions of the Marcellus.”

The additional supply will likely displace gas back into the Dawn, ON, and Ohio Valley markets, Bentek said, which will push down Southeast prices for winter 2012-2013.

“There is even an upside risk to this production forecast from the Northeast Pennsylvania region,” the firm said. “This forecast assumed a 50% rig count decline from peak levels in 2011, but rigs so far have only declined 25% in Northeast Pennsylvania.”

According to NGI’s Shale Daily Unconventional Rig Count, the Marcellus rig count was down 17% from a year ago at 124 rigs as of July 20. That represents a 2% decline from both one month and a week earlier.

Back in March, Bentek pointed out that the Marcellus was the standout in an overall environment of stalling production growth (see Shale Daily, March 15).