Majority of the drilling and production activity in the Marcellus shale continues to take place in northeast and southwest of Pennsylvania, especially in Susquehanna and Washington counties, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.
The company’s latest report, ‘Marcellus and Utica Shales in the US, 2019 – Gas Shales Market Analysis and Outlook to 2023’ reveals that Marcellus and Utica formations produced around 31 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) of natural gas in May 2019 and the production is forecast to reach approximately 35 bcfd by the end of 2023.
The major natural gas producing counties in Marcellus and Utica shale plays are Susquehanna, Washington, Bradford and Greene counties in Pennsylvania and Doddridge county in West Virginia.
Located in close proximity to the major industrial hubs on the US East Coast, Marcellus and Utica shale plays in the Appalachian basin have witnessed steady natural gas production growth over the last five-six years.
Andrew Folse, Oil & Gas Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “Fracking activity in Marcellus and Utica formations is driven by large demand for natural gas from the nearby populated areas. As in the case of other unconventional shale plays, operators in Marcellus and Utica shales continue to drill longer laterals beyond 12,000 feet and some as long as three miles.”
The Appalachian has seen a clear trend for larger scale developments by key operators by increasing the surface of contiguous acreage and allowing for more production by well recovery.
Folse continues: “Marcellus and Utica plays continue to receive premium for their natural gas compared to the benchmark of Henry Hub. Over the past three years, this region has received an average US$0.40 premium over Henry Hub. At the same time, operators have become more efficient in optimizing costs reaching a lower break-even price. With the demand continuing to grow in the region and consistent premiums over Henry Hub, the Appalachian Basin will continue to drive natural gas production in the US.”
GlobalData forecasts hydrocarbon production in Marcellus and Utica plays to rise throughout 2023. The production from the Marcellus play is projected to be over 10,000 billion cubic feet equivalent (bcfe) by the year 2023, with about 4% increase every year. The Utica play is projected to have about 3% increase year over year with production in 2023 to be over 2,600 bcfe.
EQT Corp, Antero Resources, Cabot Oil & Gas, Southwestern Energy and Range Resources, were the leading producers in the Marcellus shale while Ascent Resources and Gulfport Energy were the leading producers in the Utica shale in 2018.