Marcellus (PA) – update through December 2018

This interactive presentation contains the latest gas (and a little oil) production data, from all 8,706 horizontal wells in Pennsylvania that started producing since 2010, through December.

Gas production in Pennsylvania ended last year at over 18 Bcf/d, with a y-o-y growth rate of 2 Bcf/d. This was the result of the addition of 6.8 Bcf/d from the just over 800 horizontal wells that started production in 2018, minus the 4.8 Bcf/d decline from legacy wells. Such a large contribution from new wells (6.8 Bcf/d in a year) has not been seen before in Pennsylvania.

A major factor behind this result is the increase in well stimulation. Newer wells are completed with over 18 million pounds of proppant on average per well, versus less than 14 million pounds per well in 2017. In our ShaleProfile Analytics service, you can analyze this by operator, or even by well.

Initial well productivity improved again in 2018, as you’ll find in the top chart in the ‘Well quality’ tab. The bottom chart shows that wells that started production in 2017 are on a path to recover 4 Bcf of natural gas in the first 2 years on production. The 2018 vintage has even a slightly better start.

The 5 largest natural gas producers in Pennsylvania produced each more than 1.5 Bcf/d at the end of 2018. Cabot is in the lead, with 2.7 Bcf/d of operated output.

The ‘Advanced Insights’ presentation is displayed below:


This “Ultimate Return” overview shows the relationship between gas production rates and cumulative gas production, averaged for all horizontal wells that came online in a certain year.

The 1,188 horizontal wells that started production in 2014 have on average recovered most natural gas, at just over 4 Bcf. They also appear to be on a path to recover more than the wells from the following 2 years. But the wells that have started production since 2017 clearly have a better start, peaking at over 10,000 Mcf/d on average.

In the 5th tab (‘Productivity over time’), you’ll find in more detail how well performance has changed over time. If you change the metric to measure the cumulative gas production in the first 3 months (instead of 24 months), you’ll note that, according to this metric, well productivity has more than tripled in the past 8 years. Newer wells recover on average 0.9 Bcf in the first 3 (calendar) months on production. For wells in Susquehanna County, this is even above 1.5 Bcf (use the ‘County’ selection to filter on this county).

By the middle of next week, we will have a new post on the Permian.

Production data is subject to revisions. For this presentation, I used data gathered from the following sources:

  • Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection



The above presentations have 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.


  • Dean says:

    Hi Enno, is there a special reason why your number of DUCs is >800, while the latest EIA DPR shows for the whole Appalachia a number equal to 529 (for December 2018)?

    Thanks, Dean

  • Enno says:

    Hi Dean,

    I don’t know the exact methodology how the EIA determines its DUC count. We will soon add a dashboard in our analytics service with which you can analyze the DUC count in all detail, to provide more visibility on how we’ve come up with it.


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