The shale boom keeps getting better and better. A new report by PFC Energy, the consultancy, shows that the already generous estimates of production from the huge gas field known as the Marcellus Shale were not big enough. Apparently a Pennsylvania law kept well data closed for five years up to August. Now that the data is out, the results, PFC says, are startling.
As of August 1st, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) required that Operators submit the 12 month production records for the dates beginning July 2009 and ending June 2010. After compiling and organizing the data, the DEP released the well production records for those companies which participated in the data submission and the results display some interesting and unique insights into why the Marcellus truly is different than the rest of the shales. An in depth review of the reported well production data shows that the Marcellus Shale appears to be behaving differently than the other shales, with decline rates now estimated at – 15% as opposed to prior view of around 60%. These results place the Marcellus wells in an entirely different category from those in other basins.
So if production is not declining as rapidly as was thought, that means US gas production has room to grow even more robustly than anticipated. And as good as that sounds, the US natural gas market already is so glutted, and prices so low, that some companies are contemplating spending millions of dollars converting natural gas import terminals to export terminals and turning the US into a natural gas exporter.