Pennsylvania produced an all-time record high volume of natural gas in 2019, despite fewer wells being drilled that year, according to the Department of Environmental Protection’s new annual report on oil and gas operations.
The state produced 6.8 trillion cubic feet of natural gas from its unconventional or horizontal wells, an increase of 11.4% from 2018, Kallanish Energy reports.
The state also produced 71.4 billion cubic feet from conventional or vertical-only wells in the state. In 2018, Pennsylvania produced 6.1 trillion cubic feet from unconventional wells and 102 billion cubic feet from conventional wells.
It has about 8,400 active horizontal wells, mostly in the Marcellus Shale, and 70,000 conventional wells. It is the No. 2 state in the United States for natural gas production behind only Texas. In 2019, 616 new unconventional wells were drilled in Pennsylvania, down from 777 in 2018, it said. An additional 171 conventional wells were also drilled in 2019. It reported that 1,705 drilling permits were issued in 2019: 1,475 unconventional and 230 conventional.
That is down from 2,149 permits in 2018 including 1,868 unconventional and 281 conventional wells. DEP also reported that 90% of produced fluids or water from horizontal and vertical-only wells were recycled and reused in 2019. That is significant, said David Spigelmyer, president of the Marcellus Shale Coalition.
“Natural gas production and water recycling rates continue to break records, which is good for our economy and our environment,” he said in a statement.
“And we’re doing so with an exceptional inspection compliance rate, reflecting our commitment to safety, operational excellence and public health,” he said. “These achievements are enhancing air quality, lowering energy costs for consumers and families and creating opportunities for good-paying manufacturing jobs.”
DEP conducted more than 35,000 inspections of conventional and unconventional wells.
The agency found 985 compliance violations out of nearly 19,000 inspections at unconventional sites. They found an additional 1,763 violations from 12,000 visits to vertical-only wells.
Earlier this year, a state grand jury had filed charges against O&G companies for environmental violations, saying state regulators failed to oversee the industry.
The DEP said Pennsylvania may have as many as 200,000 abandoned oil and gas wells that can leak methane into the air.
The agency along with the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources has kicked off a research project to measure methane emissions from old wells in the Cornplanter State Forest in north central Pennsylvania. (September 16, 2020)
UNITED STATES - Natural Gas - Production