Gas from state shale wells doubles over last year

BY LAURA LEGERE

Times-Shamrock Writer

State shale gas production during the first six months of 2012 more than doubled compared to the same period last year, according to new data released by the state.

Pennsylvania’s shale wells produced 895 billion cubic feet of gas during the first half of the year, according to bi­annual data that are reported by operators and published by the state Department of Environmental Protection.

The wells put out an average of 4.9 billion cubic feet per day between January and June.

Production multiplied despite drillers’ efforts to curtail the rapid growth because the abundance of gas has depressed prices.

The amount of gas produced in each six-month period has increased with every report since the state began publishing biannual data in 2010 and the rate of growth slowed only slightly during the last 12 months.

Between the first and second halves of 2011, shale gas volumes increased by 45 percent, but in the most recent period, volumes grew by 42 percent.

The data released by the DEP have fluctuated nearly daily since it was first posted on the agency’s website a week ago. On Aug. 15, several major operators’ reports had not yet been uploaded. The next day, errors in Chesapeake Energy’s data prevented the state’s most prolific Marcellus Shale producer from posting its report to the public database. And on Tuesday, when theChesapeakedata was finally published, data from another major driller, Talisman Energy, was withdrawn for revisions after the company mistakenly reported some waste volumes in the wrong unit of measurement, DEP spokesman Kevin Sunday said.

The production numbers are now largely complete except for “a very small number of wells with outstanding data to report,” he said.

The data revealed some new production highlights along with now-familiar strong results.

For the first time, the top-producing well in the state was inWyomingCounty.

Citrus Energy’sJohnston1 well in Meshoppen produced 4.5 billion cubic feet of gas. The second-highest producer was also a Citrus well in Meshoppen, the Lasco 2, with 2.9 billion cubic feet.

Eight Cabot Oil and Gas Corp. wells in Dimock, Springville andAuburntownships,SusquehannaCounty, were also in the top ten. The top 25 wells in the state during the period are all owned by either Citrus or Cabot.

BradfordCountyremained the top-producing county in the state with 235 billion cubic feet of gas. More than a quarter of the state’s shale gas during the first six months of the year was drawn from the northern tier county.