Shale gas requires more compression
The increased contribution of shale gas to the total gas production translates into higher demand for compression. This is because shale plays typically have lower pressures than conventional plays, requiring significantly more compression to move gas.
According to USA Compression Partners (USAC), Shale gas is typically produced at lower wellhead pressures of 0‐50 PSIG (pounds per square inch gauge), in contrast to conventional gas wells, which are produced at 100‐300 PSIG.
At the same time, pipeline specifications remain constant. This results in requiring gas pressure in case of shale gas to be increased significantly to move gas through pipelines. As a result, to move the same amount, shale gas requires significantly more compression.
As the graph above shows, USA Compression Partners believes that compression needs for unconventional basins are up to three times those of conventional supplies.