Marcellus (PA) - update through January 2017

This interactive presentation contains the latest gas production data from all 7193 horizontal wells in Pennsylvania since 2010, through January.

Since the 2016 October low, gas production increased significantly in the following 3 months, and set a new record in January at about 14.5 Bcf/d.

In the “Well quality” tab you can see the average performance of all these wells. Well productivity rose strongly from 2010 to 2014, after which improvements seem to have leveled off, on average.

You’ll notice in the last tab (“Top operators”) that the 2 largest operators here (Chesapeake & Cabot) have both increased production since the middle of 2016, and are close to their previous record outputs. In January they were together good for almost 30% of the total gas production from these horizontal wells in Pennsylvania.

The ‘Advanced Insights’ presentation is displayed below:



This “Ultimate recovery” overview shows the relationship between gas production rates, and cumulative gas production, for all the wells that started production in a certain year.

Wells that started production in 2016 peaked again higher, with an average production rate of just above 7,000 Mcf/d in their first full calendar month on production.

Also interesting to see here is that the wells from each of the years 2010-2014 reached an average cumulative production of around 3 Bcf at about the same time. The 2013-2014 wells just managed to do so faster, and at higher production rates, and appear therefore to be on trajectories to recover more gas.

As Susquehanna is the top gas producing county, I was curious how the average well productivity has changed here in recent years. If you select only this county (using the “County” selection at the bottom), you can see that although this average performance initially deteriorated since 2014, from the 2nd half of 2016 onward there was quite a significant improvement again. This becomes even more visible once you change the “Show wells by” selection to “Quarter of first flow”.

The 3rd tab (“Well status map”) shows the location and status of all these wells. If you click on the “3. First flow” item in the legend, you can see where new wells were brought on production in January. A tooltip will show you, once you hover over the large highlighted blob of new wells in Susquehanna county, that Cabot put 11 new wells on production there.

By Friday I expect to have a new post on the Niobrara basin (CO & WY), followed by new posts on the Eagle Ford and the Permian next week.

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

  • Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection



The above presentation has many interactive features:

  • You can click through the blocks on the top to see the slides.
  • Each slide has filters that can be set, e.g. to select individual or groups of operators. You can first click “all” to deselect all items. You have to click the “apply” button at the bottom to enforce the changes. After that, click anywhere on the presentation.
  • Tooltips are shown by just hovering the mouse over parts of the presentation.
  • You can move the map around, and zoom in/out.
  • By clicking on the legend you can highlight selected items.
  • Note that filters have to be set for each tab separately.
  • The operator who currently owns the well is designated by “operator (current)”. The operator who operated a well in a past month is designated by “operator (actual)”. This distinction is useful when the ownership of a well changed over time.
  • If you have any questions on how to use the interactivity, or how to analyze specific questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.


  • Coffeeguyzz says:

    Amazing analytical tool you are presenting here, Mr. Peters. Just amazing. Thank you.

    The delineation phase continues apace, although at a slow rate due to many factors.
    The north central tier – as shown by Potter, Elk, Cameron, and McKean counties in your top graphic – are tiny producers, relatively speaking, but continue to display recoverable gas over an expanding footprint.
    Potter, in particular, in producing from 11,600′ deep Utica wells, offers intriguing potentialities for the future.

    1. Enno says:

      Thank you Gerard!

  • Dean says:

    Hi Enno,

    for some reason, “productivity over time” does not work: is there a small bug?

    Thanks, Dean

    1. Enno says:


      Not really a bug, but the “basin” selection on the right side is empty. Just select the only one that is available and it should work. Next time I’ll have it active by default as it should have been.


  • nuassembly says:

    A simple calculation, 15million tons of LNG a year from Gorgon is equivalent to 20Billion Cubic meters of natural gas a year. Assuming production over 30 years accumulates 600Billion Cubic meters of produced gas. With 54Billion dollar initial investment, we have a cost of 0.087 dollar per cubic meter.
    Of course, this huge initial investment include the LNG trains, much like the LNG trains here just started by Cheniere, whose Sabine pass 6 trains costs $10billion for 3.5BCFPD LNG capability, which is about 40Billion Cubic meters of natural gas capability, twice the amount in Gorgon. For 30 years of operation this gives a initial capital cost of 0.006 dollar per cubic meter for domestic shale gas to be converted into LNG.

    The reasonably conservative EUR of a Marcellus well is estimated 6BCF (estimated from the plot generated from this great website by Enno), or 0.2Billion Cubic meters. With initial investment ranging from 6million to 9million dollars, that’s an initial cost of 0.03~0.045 dollar per cubic meter. Adding the above 0.006 dollar per cubic meter of LNG conversion cost, the American shale gas seems to have an edge over Gorgon.

    In fact, the cost of shale gas in the first major shale gas field in China with annual output over 10Billion cubic meters over 30 years is estimated to cost only 40billion RMB (with 5billion initial exploration cost). That’s 300 Billion cubic meters of natural gas with initial cost of 40Billion RMB or 5.5Billion USD, or 0.018 dolars per cubic meters in the pipeline.

    1. Coffeeguyzz says:


      Couple of observations …
      There are two more published reporting periods from PA DEP – February and March – beyond Enno’s above charts.
      Even at that, Enno shows 631 wells out of 7,200 have ALREADY produced over 6Bcf.
      Operators now regularly project EURs ranging from 15 to 30 Bcf.
      As ridiculously high as that might seem, several recent wells from Susquehannah and Bradford counties have passed 5 Bcf in just a few month’s time.
      Chevron, operator of Gorgon, suspended plans to build more trains. Chevron also has over 350 wells in the Marcellus.

      With all the other current challenges the Fuling field has, depth of the formation will be an immutable aspect.
      The bulk of their wells are in the 12,000 foot depth range.
      In contrast, the 4 well King pad from Cabot in Susquehannah county (22Bcf cum in 7+ months) is at 6,000 depth. Way cheaper to drill.

      1. nuassembly says:

        yes, 18BCF for 5 wells in 7 months (according to this website, 5 wells doing 20MMCFPD) — truly amazing, Marcellus keeps on bringing new surprises!
        The wells in Fuling,China are deeper than Marcellus, much like Utica. They are actually shallower than 12,000′, usually ranging from 2,500meters to 3,800meters. The average cost of D&C of a well in Fuling is actually now below RMB50million (or $7million) dropped from 70million. Note that the well lateral length are only 1.2km in China versus more or less 2.4km here in Marcellus. The next field Dingshan being explored by the same Sinopec company who did Fuling is deeper. Actually they found the shallow part like Fuling has much less pressure, meaning gas was not well retained. The part that has good pressure are much deeper than Fuling, ranging from 3,700meters to 4,500meters.

        The other shale fields with similar geological formation explored by CNPC actually are also picking up production. They have 23 pads with 3-6 wells on each pad, and 3 of the pads have total production rate is in excess of 50MMCFPD each pad. Note that in Fuling or CNPC shale wells they usually produce at fixed production mode, and that rate is only about 1/2 to 1/3 of the max IP. It is expected that shale gas production could account for over 25% of China’s natural gas production by 2020.

      2. Coffeeguyzz says:

        Edit: That should read 5 new wells on the King pad, 228 days online each.
        Combined with the two earlier wells, this pad has produced over 45 Bcf.

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