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What’s Driving the Growth in Appalachian Natural Gas Production?

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Natural gas production in new wells

According to the EIA (U.S. Energy Information Administration), the average monthly natural gas production per rig for new wells in the Appalachian region has increased by 10.8 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d) since January 2012.

According to the EIA’s November DPR (Drilling Productivity Report), new well gas production per rig is expected to rise by 27 MMcf/d in December 2017 compared to November 2017.

The EIA reported that the increase was driven by improved efficiencies in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing in the region. These improved efficiencies included faster drilling, longer laterals, and advancements in technology.

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Productivity in Appalachia

In the West Virginia region of the Appalachia play, the average lateral length per well increased from ~2,500 feet in 2007 to over 7,000 feet in 2016. In the Marcellus play, some operators have reported lateral lengths as long as 15,000 feet, while in the Utica play, there have been reports of lateral lengths of 19,000 feet.

Following its Rice Energy acquisition, which it completed in November this year, EQT (EQT) expects its Marcellus wells in Greene and Washington counties to average at least 12,000 feet compared to their current average of 8,000 feet. Also, recently, Chesapeake Energy (CHK) placed a 10,000-foot lateral well into production in the Marcellus shale. To know more, read What’s New in Chesapeake Energy’s Marcellus Operations?

In the following article, we’ll look at trends in natural gas processing capacity in the Appalachian region.

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