Appalachian Basin

EIA: Mighty Marcellus “so large that only a portion of the formation has been extensively production tested”

Recently released data from the Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration suggest that the natural gas produced from shale formations in the United States will account for 47 percent of production by 2035, up from 16 percent in 2009.

Following are excerpt from EIA’s Annual Energy Outlook 2011:

  • The combination of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing technologies has made it possible to produce shale gas economically, leading to an average annual growth rate of 48 percent over the 2006-2010 period…Technical advances can lead to more productive and less costly well drilling and completion.
  • Shale gas production continues to increase strongly through 2035 in the AEO2011 Reference case, growing almost fourfold from 2009 to 2035.
  • In 2035, [shale gas] makes up 47 percent of total U.S. production—up considerably from the 16-percent share in 2009.

  • Over the past decade, as more shale formations have gone into commercial production, the estimate of technically and economically recoverable shale gas resources has skyrocketed. 
  • Many shale formations (particularly, the Marcellus shale) are so large that only a portion of the formation has been extensively production tested.
  • Dry gas production in the Northeast region increases in the Reference case nearly five-fold from 2009 to 2035 (Figure 91).


  • The majority of the increase comes from the Marcellus shale gas play, which has an estimated technically recoverable resource base of about 400 trillion cubic feet.



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