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July 30, 2013

New infrastructure boosts West Virginia, southern Pennsylvania natural gas production

graph of natural gas production, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration calculations with data from Bentek Energy LLC.

A notable increase since early 2012 in natural gas production in West Virginia and nearby counties in southern Pennsylvania continued through July 2013. Although producers have increasingly shifted their attention to more liquids-rich shale gas in the wet gas regions of these states, production in the dry gas regions has benefitted from the addition of infrastructure, improving takeaway capacity from their gas fields.

From July to September last year, the following projects expanded the production capacity of West Virginia and southern Pennsylvania by almost 1 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d):

  • July 2012: Equitrans placed its Sunrise Project into full service, with capacity to carry 0.31 Bcf/d from Wetzel County, West Virginia, to Greene County, Pennsylvania, and providing access to five separate interconnections serving Mid-Atlantic consumers.
  • September 2012: Dominion Transmission initiated service from the four new compressor stations and 110 miles of new pipeline built for its Appalachian Gateway Project, providing capacity to carry 0.47 Bcf/d of natural gas from production areas in West Virginia and southern Pennsylvania to an interconnect with the Texas Eastern Transmission Pipeline.
  • September 2012: Equitrans placed into service its newly built 0.20 Bcf/d Blacksville Compressor Station in Monongalia County, West Virginia.

Natural gas production in West Virginia and southern Pennsylvania has risen as these expansions provided increased access to markets. Production in West Virginia averaged 2.34 Bcf/d through mid-July 2013, compared to 1.55 Bcf/d through mid-July 2012, a 51% increase. Production in the nearby dry regions of southern Pennsylvania doubled during this period, from 0.86 Bcf/d to 1.73 Bcf/d.

Additional growth in West Virginia is expected as Texas Eastern announced plans to build a 0.39 Bcf/d pipeline lateral to its mainline from Dominion's 0.20 Bcf/d Natrium processing plant in West Virginia by the end of 2014. Planned processing plant expansions through the end of this year could also add significantly to the state's processing capacity, which totaled 0.85 Bcf/d in 2012.