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Pennsylvania – update through March 2023 | Natural gas production in Pennsylvania is heavily impacted by the steep fall in pricing.

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This article contains still images from the interactive dashboards available in the original blog post. To follow the instructions in this article, please use the interactive dashboards. Furthermore, they allow you to uncover other insights as well.


Visit the blog to explore the full interactive dashboard

These interactive presentations contain the latest gas (and a little oil) production data, from all 11,173 horizontal wells in Pennsylvania that started producing from 2010 onward, through March this year.

Total production

Natural gas production in Pennsylvania was 20.3 Bcf/d in March (Hz. wells only), 0.4 Bcf/d below the output 2 years earlier and unchanged from a year ago. Last year, 567 horizontal wells came online, a similar number as the previous 2 years, but far below the numbers seen in the 2011-2019 period.

Drilling Activity

As of last week, 24 rigs were drilling horizontal wells in Pennsylvania (according to Baker Hughes), about the average during the previous 12 months:


Horizontal rig count in Pennsylvania (left hand side) and natural gas prices (HH, right hand side)

With natural gas prices having fallen steeply during the previous 12 months, to near their lowest level in the past decade, it is no wonder that the rig count is so low as well. Given the delay between price changes and the impact on activity levels, we will probably see further declines in the rig count in the near term.

Permit activity

We can see a similar fall in permitting activity, with only 29 permits for new horizontal wells approved in April:


Permit activity in Pennsylvania since Jan 2022, through mid of May.

Coterra Energy and Chesapeake are the operators with most of the new permits approved since the start of this year (40 and 35 resp.). EQT, the 2nd larger shale gas producer in the state, ranks only 13th, and you can see in the final tab of the interactive presentation at the top of this post that its production has declined by 15% in the past 2 years.

Well productivity

In the “Well quality” of the interactive presentation you can find that average well productivity in Pennsylvania has stagnated since 2019.

In the following overview, average well productivity and completion designs are plotted versus production start dates for the 4 largest natural gas operators in the state:


Well productivity over time (top chart) and completion designs (bottom 2 charts) in Pennsylvania

In the top chart, you can see how well productivity, as measured by the average cumulative gas recovered in the first 6 months has changed over time, by operator. Only EQT is showing a significant rise since 2019, but this is probably due to high grading and with fewer wells completed. In the bottom chart you can also see that it had the biggest completions (measured in lateral length & proppant loading) last year.

Note also how Chesapeake’s average well performance has fallen during the last 2 years, despite also slightly bigger completions.

Terminal decline rates

Finally, we’ll take a look at how steep older wells decline:


In the top chart you can find the average production rates for horizontal wells, by vintage year of first production. In the bottom chart we display the average annual decline rates. As you can see these are steep in early years (at around 40% in year 2 compared with year 1), but then steadily fall until they appear to bottom out at around 10% after 9-10 years.

Production data is subject to revisions.


For this presentation, I used data gathered from the following sources:

  • Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection

Visit our blog to read the full post and use the interactive dashboards to gain more insight:

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