Pennsylvania unconventional natural gas production surpassed 7 Tcf last year, up 3.9% from 2019, the lowest growth rate on record for a full year of production, according to the state’s Independent Fiscal Office (IFO).

Pennsylvania production

Fourth quarter production increased 2.9% year/year to 1.8 Tcf, flat with the annual growth level in the third quarter. Quarterly production growth hit a peak in 2018 of 18.6%, but decelerated for eight consecutive quarters until plateauing at 2.9% in 4Q2020. 

Activity across the Appalachian Basin has declined as producers have cut budgets and scaled back operations. Demand was hit hard last year by the Covid-19 pandemic and investors have demanded more discipline from the upstream sector. 

The IFO said 99 horizontal wells were spud in the final three months...