Appalachian Basin

Pennsylvania’s 2017 Shale Gas Production Was Off the Charts

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) recently posted natural gas production reports for 2017, and the numbers for shale are simply incredible. The Commonwealth’s unconventional oil and gas industry produced 5.4 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of natural gas in 2017, a five percent increase over 2016 production totals.

Shale development has occurred in 40 of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties, resulting in:

  New Unconventional Wells Drilled Total Unconventional Wells Drilled Since 2004 Unconventional
Natural Gas Production
2017 811 10,903 5,363,368,272
2016 503 10,092 5,096,092,075
Percent Increase
2016 – 2017
61% 8% 5%
2011 1,959 4,871 1,065,824,046
Percent Change
2011 – 2017
-59% +124% +403%

The first full year DEP separated production totals for unconventional and conventional natural gas development was 2011. Since then, production increased 403 percent from 1.1 tcf to this past year’s record 5.4 tcf, despite fewer wells being drilled yearly.

This dramatic increase despite less drilling is, at least in part, the result of increased efficiency and longer laterals. Range Resources holds the record for the longest lateral in the Marcellus at 17,875 feet.  And as the Pittsburgh Business Times recently noted, the increase in pipeline infrastructure — particularly in the southwestern part of the state — has allowed more wells to come online, helping to increase takeaway capacity and production. As Dennis Degner, senior vice president of operations at Range Resources told the Business Times,

“We have better transportation operations out of southwestern Pennsylvania. We have the optionality, whether it’s processing or pipelines … that adds a lot of takeaway.”

So, which counties and companies are leading the charge on drilling and production in the Marcellus?

Natural Gas By the Numbers: Counties

Washington County, where the first Marcellus well was drilled in 2004, leads the state in both new shale wells drilled in 2017 at 209 (26 percent of state total) and total shale wells drilled since 2004 with 1,705 (16 percent of state total).  But it’s Susquehanna County that had the highest production in 2017 at 1.3 tcf of natural gas. That’s more than the entire state produced in 2011, and represents about 24 percent of Pennsylvania’s total production for 2017.

Here’s a look at the top 10 counties for new unconventional wells, total unconventional wells since 2004 and production in 2017:

County New Unconventional Wells Drilled in 2017 County Total Unconventional Wells Drilled

2004 – 2017

Washington 209 Washington 1,705
Greene 158 Bradford 1,439
Susquehanna 94 Susquehanna 1,432
Butler 67 Greene 1,245
Bradford 64 Tioga 962
Tioga 41 Lycoming 960
Lycoming 33 Butler 568
Allegheny 26 Fayette 291
Armstrong 20 Westmoreland 278
Beaver 20 Wyoming 269


County 2017 Unconventional
Natural Gas Production
Susquehanna 1,306,671,109
Washington 945,683,179
Bradford 709,169,357
Greene 659,887,108
Wyoming 354,940,122
Lycoming 344,303,678
Tioga 220,607,204
Butler 185,455,157
Sullivan 139,942,799
Fayette 79,148,683


Natural Gas By the Numbers: Companies

When it comes to companies, Range Resources leads the charge for development, adding 154 new wells in 2017. The company has drilled 1,355 of the more than 10,000 total shale wells that have been developed since Range drilled the very first Marcellus well back in 2004.

When it comes to production, Chesapeake Energy and Cabot Oil and Gas were neck-and-neck for the top spot in 2017 with roughly 766 billion cubic feet (bcf) and 755 bcf, respectively.  Combined, the two companies represented about 28 percent of the state’s total unconventional natural gas production.

Here’s a look at the top-10 counties for new unconventional wells, total unconventional wells since 2004 and production in 2017:

Company New Unconventional Wells Drilled in 2017 Company Total Unconventional Wells Drilled

2004 – 2017

Range Resources 154
Range Resources
EQT 136
Chesapeake Appalachia
Rice Drilling 98
SWN Production 61 Repsol Resources 706
Chief Oil & Gas 58 SWN Production 671
Cabot Oil & Gas 54 Cabot Oil & Gas 659
PennEnergy Resources 49 SWEPI 613
Seneca Resources 35 Seneca Resources 551
Repsol Resources 28 Rice Drilling 460
CNX Gas 20 Chevron Appalachia 397


Company 2017 Unconventional
Natural Gas Production
Chesapeake Appalachia 765,872,737
Cabot Oil & Gas 754,823,133
Range Resources 538,922,172
EQT 492,583,482
SWN Production 487,119,514
Chief Oil & Gas 303,014,482
Rice Drilling 299,537,177
CNX Gas 211,835,386
Seneca Resources 198,588,052
Repsol Resources 191,235,604

2018 is already starting off in similar fashion, with the DEP reporting 156 wells drilled so far, two more than this time last year. And if years past are any indicator, Pennsylvania will hopefully continue to set new records with the development of the “Mighty Marcellus.”

No Comments

Post A Comment