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April 17, 2023

Pennsylvania natural gas production changed little in 2022

annual U.S. marketed natural gas production in selected states
Data source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Natural Gas Monthly

In 2022, Pennsylvania accounted for 19% of U.S. marketed natural gas production, with more natural gas produced than in any other state except Texas. Marketed natural gas production in Pennsylvania fell slightly by 2% to average 20.5 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in 2022 after reaching an annual high of 20.9 Bcf/d in 2021, according to our Natural Gas Monthly. Natural gas production in Pennsylvania comes largely from the Marcellus shale gas play. In 2022, productivity declines and a plateauing of natural gas takeaway capacity resulted in the small decrease in production of 0.4 Bcf/d in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania weekly natural gas rig count and monthly natural gas drilling permits granted by Pennsylvania
Data source: Baker Hughes Company (rig count), Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (permits)

Natural gas production in Pennsylvania is affected by drilling activity, well productivity, and the availability of infrastructure to transport natural gas to demand centers. Drilling activity in Pennsylvania, as measured by rig and permit counts in the state, has generally declined over the past 10 years. Pennsylvania averaged 384 permits and 59 rigs per month in 2013, compared with 83 permits and 18 rigs per month in 2021. In 2022, the rig and permit counts increased slightly to average 87 permits and 24 rigs per month.

Despite declining rig and permit counts, operators in Pennsylvania have recently increased natural gas production by improving well productivity. Over the past decade, advances in hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling led to rapid production growth.

first six months of natural gas production from new Pennsylvania wells, on average
Data source: Enverus DrillingInfo

An important indicator of productivity is the volume of natural gas that new wells produce during the first six months of drilling. In 2013, a new well’s first six months of production in Pennsylvania averaged 0.7 billion cubic feet (Bcf); by 2021, that number had grown to a record high of 2.2 Bcf. Well productivity fell by 7% in 2022.

Pennsylvania's cumulative outbound natural gas pipeline capacity
Data source: Enverus DrillingInfo

The required infrastructure to transport natural gas from production regions to demand centers has also grown. Since 2013, about 11 Bcf/d of interstate pipeline takeaway capacity has entered service. Although natural gas pipeline takeaway capacity out of Pennsylvania has grown annually since 2014, the rate of increase slowed in recent years. In 2022, no new interstate pipeline takeaway capacity was added in Pennsylvania. Most interstate pipelines transporting natural gas out of Pennsylvania ran close to maximum capacity in 2022.

Several pipeline projects that would expand natural gas takeaway capacity out of Pennsylvania have been proposed to enter service in 2023 or later, including the 1.05 Bcf/d Regional Energy Access Project and the 0.4 Bcf/d Northeast Supply Enhancement Project. Our Natural Gas Pipeline Project Tracker, which is updated quarterly, tracks recently approved natural gas pipeline projects through completion.

Principal contributor: Naser Ameen