Natural Gas Production Report, 2016 Quarter 4
March 02, 2017 | Natural Gas
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) publishes monthly production data submitted by natural gas extractors that operate in the state. Unless otherwise noted, this report uses those data, in conjunction with DEP data on wells spud, to develop statewide tabulations of production volume and well counts for the fourth quarter of 2016 and the calendar year. These data are current as of February 22, 2017 and pertain only to gas produced from unconventional formations, which include the Marcellus and Utica formations. The final page provides definitions of the technical terms used throughout this report.
Production gains in the fourth quarter were from wells spud in 2015 and 2016. However, these wells accounted for only 19.8% of production volume. Most production gains for the calendar year were from wells spud in 2014 and 2015. The fourth quarter of 2016 is the first period that production from wells spud in 2014 declined (-1.7%). That occurred despite an increase in the number of producing wells from that spud year (26.3%). For wells spud in 2013 and earlier, production declined in the fourth quarter and calendar year, even though the number of producing wells increased. From 2015 to 2016, the number of producing wells and production both increased. Despite the 2016 production gain, quarterly volume fluctuated within a narrow range.
For new wells, 176 were spud in the fourth quarter of 2016, which is the first year-over-year increase in quarterly counts since 2014. This was an increase of 30 wells over the prior quarter and continues the acceleration of drilling activity that began in the second half of the year. However, new wells for calendar year 2016 are still down from the prior year.
Susquehanna County was the highest-producing county in the state, representing nearly one quarter of all horizontal well production (23.8%). The largest increases in production among top-ten counties occurred in the southwest region of the state (Greene, Washington and Butler). All declines in production occurred in the northeast region (Lycoming, Tioga, Bradford and Sullivan).