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Ohio and Pennsylvania Lead Growth in Natural Gas Production in 2016

Posted By Lyndsey Kleven, Communications Coordinator, Monday, May 1, 2017
Updated: Wednesday, May 3, 2017

The U.S. Energy Information Administration released its latest natural gas production findings in late April—showing Ohio and Pennsylvania to be the top two states for growth in natural gas production in 2016. In 2015 the U.S. saw its peak natural gas production at 79 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d), with 2016 showing the first annual decline to 77 Bcf/d since 2005.

Ohio and Pennsylvania each saw natural gas production increase by 1.2 Bcf/d, with most other fossil fuel rich states seeing minimal increase, while other actually saw declines. Texas natural gas production fell by 2.5 Bcf/d.

The EIA says it measures natural gas production in three different ways:

Gross withdrawals are the full volume of compounds extracted at the wellhead, which includes all natural gas plant liquids and nonhydrocarbon gases after oil, lease condensate, and water have been removed. Marketed natural gas production excludes natural gas used for repressuring the well, vented and flared gas, and any nonhydrocarbon gases. Dry natural gas production is marketed production minus natural gas plant liquids.

The Utica and Marcellus shale plays which account for 85% of the U.S. shale gas production growth since horizontal drilling really took off in 2012 are a reflection of Ohio and Pennsylvania seeing the two largest increases in natural gas production last year. Over the last decade, the two states were producing less than 2% of the nation’s natural gas in 2006 to 24% in 2016. Ohio surpassed West Virginia in 2016 to become the seventh-highest natural gas producer among U.S. states.

Although this information paints a rather positive picture of U.S. natural gas production, especially in our region, the industry is still working its way out of a recession.  Specifically in Ohio, in the fourth quarter of 2016 both oil and natural gas production decreased from the previous quarter. We saw oil production start its decline in the beginning of 2016 during the first quarter and has since continued declining—but this is the first time we have seen natural gas production on the decline. While we are encouraged that the industry is making its way back to an upswing, it is important to put production results into perspective in order to get a realistic view of our nation’s oil and natural gas producing industry. 

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