The Marcellus and Utica shale formations have catalyzed regional energy connectivity and economic development across Appalachia.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration released a report today detailing how “Shale gas production in the Appalachia region has increased rapidly since 2012, driving an overall increase in U.S. natural gas production.” The report stresses that “Drilling wells in the Appalachia region has become very productive. The average monthly natural gas production per rig for new wells in the Appalachia region increased by 10.8 million cubic feet per day since January 2012. EIA attributes this increase to efficiency improvements in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing in the region, which include faster drilling, longer laterals, advancements in technology, and better targeting of wells.”
According to former U.S. Congressman from Louisiana Charlie Melacon, “The Appalachian Basin is the fastest-growing and the most incremental source of domestic natural gas supply, but if the gas cannot get to market then it can only have so much impact on the surrounding region.” He argues further that “With the breadth of shale developments over the last two decades, it is clear that we need to expand energy infrastructure away from being centralized on the Gulf Coast and to regionalize the development closer to Appalachian sectors, with Pennsylvania now the nation’s second largest producer of natural gas.”
Energy infrastructure projects across the region are bolstering regional capacity to benefit from this energy wealth. Energy Transfer Partners, Shell and Williams have made important steps towards revitalizing local energy infrastructure development and have positioned the region as a necessary resource for national energy reserves.