Pennsylvania hits another production record



Gas production in Pennsylvania continued to hit records, with 1.9 trillion cubic feet of gas coming out of the ground during the first half of the year, according to new data released from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection on Monday. That's a 14 percent increase over the previous six-month period when operators pulled 1.7 trillion cubic feet of gas out of the ground. A year ago it was closer to 1.4 trillion.

About 510 new wells came online during the reporting period. 

Infrastructure constraints in Appalachia have made it difficult for producers to get their gas out of this underpriced market to hungry demand centers outside of Pennsylvania, but some of that may be easing.

“There's a lot of new capacity over the first half of the year," said Sam Gorgen, a U.S. crude oil production analyst at the Energy Information Administration, who monitors Pennsylvania oil and gas production.

"Certainly, there is the possibility of companies wanting to bring on more wells, and there could be some restrictions on [how much] they could flow from those wells," he said. 

Susquehanna County had the most gas production during the past six months, with 455 billion cubic feet, or 23 percent of the state sum. Bradford and Lycoming counties followed.

In southwestern Pennsylvania, Washington County continued to lead the area in gas production with 198 billion cubic feet, followed closely by Greene County with 172 billion cubic feet. Production from the Greater Pittsburgh region accounted for about a quarter of all statewide gas reported during the first six months of 2014.

Washington County was once again the leader in liquids production in the state by a large margin, with 1.8 million barrels of condensate, most of that coming from Range Resources, and 204,316 barrels of oil, all from Chesapeake Energy.

While a distant second, Mercer County is starting to emerge as another liquids-rich destination, with Shell and Halcon having some successes there with condensate and oil. Last week, Shell sold off its acreage in Mercer and neighboring Western Pennsylvania counties to Rex Energy Corp.

Five Cabot Oil & Gas wells in Susquehanna County were the most productive during the past six months, pumping out the most gas per day even though some had already been producing for more than six months. Typically, a shale gas well starts slowing production after only a few months.

The top five producers in the state — Chesapeake Energy, Cabot Oil & Gas, Range Resources, Southwestern Energy, and EQT Corp, in that order —  accounted for nearly half of the state's gas supply for the first half of the year.

Anya Litvak: alitvak@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1455.

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