Shale gas largest of U.S. natural gas production
In a recent publication, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported that shale gas production reached the highest level ever in 2013. Total U.S. natural gas production, or gross withdrawals, reached a new high of 82 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d), with shale gas wells becoming the largest source of total natural gas production.
The EIA reported that according to statistics from Natural Gas Annual, gross withdrawals from shale gas wells increased from 5 BCF/d in 2007 to 33 Bcf/d in 2013, representing 40 percent of total natural gas production, and surpassing production from non-shale natural gas wells. The combined technologies of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing have enabled producers to increase natural gas production while lowering drilling costs, which has also lowered the market price of natural gas.
This trend shows a dramatic shift in domestic natural gas production. In 2007, shale gas wells made up 8 percent of total natural gas produced in the United States, with 63 percent of shale gas production coming from Texas. Since then, the distribution of shale gas production by state has changed significantly in the United States, especially in Texas, Pennsylvania, Louisiana and Arkansas. These states accounted for 26 Bcf/d (79 percent) of U.S. shale production in 2013.
EIA noted these facts:
- Texas shale gas production increased from 3 Bcf/d in 2007 to 11 Bcf/d in 2013. Most of its shale gas production growth came from the Barnett, Eagle Ford, and Haynesville-Bossier plays.
- Pennsylvania became the second-largest shale gas producing state in 2013, producing 8 Bcf/d, with almost all the growth coming from the Marcellus play. Shale gas production from the Utica play is increasing, but this volume remains small by comparison.
- Louisiana produced a minimal amount of shale gas in 2007, but it produced 4 Bcf/d in 2013. All of this growth came from the Haynesville play.
- Arkansas became the fourth-largest shale gas producing state, accounting for 2.8 Bcf/d, or 9 percent, of U.S. shale gas production in 2013. All of its shale gas production growth came from the Fayetteville play.
While shale gas production is increasing rapidly, non-shale natural gas is on the decline:
The EIA reports that total U.S. gross natural gas production from non-shale natural gas wells decreased by 25 percent (from 41 Bcf/d in 2007 to 31 Bcf/d in 2013). And although production from non-shale natural gas wells in Texas, Louisiana and the Gulf of Mexico made up 56 percent of total U.S. gross production from non-shale natural gas wells in 2007, their combined share also declined to 41 percent in 2013.
Since 2007, production in these states from non-shale natural gas wells decreased by 45 percent, to 13 Bcf/d in 2013. This is mostly due to natural depletion and a relatively low number of new non-shale natural gas wells in these areas.
Recent data confirms that natural gas production in the U.S. has shifted dramatically. But this shift to shale gas also benefits consumers, as natural gas prices have remained low.