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Positive Indicators from the Natural Gas Sector

Energy & Resources

By George Adams

There has been some rather depressing news related to the natural gas sector in recent months.  Energy prices are at 18-year lows, and many energy producers and related service providers have laid off employees and idled equipment. 

However, recent production reports are painting a different picture than the one often reported in the news.  Natural gas production in both Ohio and Pennsylvania is stronger year over year from 2014 to 2015.  Ohio's horizontal natural gas production increased by 25% from the third quarter of 2015 to the fourth quarter 2015, and oil production also increased 10 % for that same period based on production data from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. There was also a dramatic increase in natural gas production in Ohio from 452.8 billion cubic feet in 2014 to 953 billion cubic feet in 2015.  In addition, oil totals for the same period in Ohio increased from 11 million barrels to 21.98 million barrels.

In Pennsylvania, the news is similar.  The U.S. Energy Information Administration said there was 13.8 million cubic feet of natural gas produced in Pennsylvania per day in December of 2015 as compared to 13.4 million cubic feet per day in November of 2015.  In addition, there was an increase in production of 15.7% when comparing Pennsylvania production from December of 2015 to December of 2014.  Another interesting statistic is that Pennsylvania's production was slightly over half of the Texas production for December 2015.

While it remains to be seen how long these low prices will continue, there is at least some positive news in the energy sector.  In addition, this comes at a time when the related pipeline infrastructure continues to expand and allow more of the gas produced to reach their respective markets, requiring fewer wells to be drilled and capped until the infrastructure makes it to their location.

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