PITTSBURGH (AP) — Natural gas production from the Marcellus Shale region is growing faster than expected, according to a new federal report issued Tuesday.
Marcellus production has now reached 12 billion cubic feet a day, the Energy Information Administration report found. That's the energy equivalent of about 2 million barrels of oil a day, and more than six times the 2009 production rate.
For perspective, if the Marcellus Shale region were a country, its natural gas production would rank eighth in the world. The Marcellus now produces more natural gas than Saudi Arabia, and that glut has led to wholesale prices here that are about one-quarter of those in Japan, for example.
The vast majority of the Marcellus gas is coming from Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The shale also lies under other states, but most of the wells in Ohio produce oil, and New York has placed a moratorium on shale gas drilling.
Federal energy experts are surprised by the rapid Marcellus growth, since the number of drilling rigs has fallen over the past two years.
"A year ago, we were not expecting the Marcellus to be at 12 billion cubic feet," said Sam Gorgen of the EIA, which is a part of the Department of Energy.
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