Marcellus (PA) – update until 2016-04

This is the first presentation about the Marcellus, in Pennsylvania. Also, it is the first time I present natural gas production, as almost all hydrocarbon production in Pennsylvania is gas. And lots of it; according to the EIA it ranks 2nd, only behind Texas, and it is currently responsible for roughly 20% of total US natural gas production. Together with the Utica play, the Marcellus has provided 85% of the growth in natural gas production in the US, since 2012.

In the presentation, the production from all the unconventional, horizontal wells is shown, as reported by the PA DEP. In total almost 6700 horizontal wells have started since 2010, until April this year. As you can see in the “Well Status” tab, there also appears to be a large number of DUCs. These wells have all been spudded, but no reported production yet.

Natural gas production has grown significantly, and reached a new high in February this year, just over 14k MMcf/d (=14 Bcf/d).

You can see in the “Well quality” tab that average well productivity has been steadily rising over the years, but seems to have halted since 2014. As I would expect, it appears that natural gas production declines are a little lower compared with the declines in LTO production that we’ve seen in the other basins.

I have adjusted the presentation, such that it’s easy now to see both gas, and oil (& condensate) production. In each slide, there is a selection (“Product”) that allows you to switch between the two.

Although the Pennsylvania state data was pretty good, there are a number of limitations:

  • I could not find in which formation each well is located, and therefore currently assume that they are all in the Marcellus. This is incorrect, as some of them are in the Utica and Point Pleasant formations. If someone has an idea how I could distinguish between them, please let me know.
  • Prior to 2015, production of wells is not reported monthly, but (semi-) annually. I used an algorithm to assign this (semi-) annual well production to individual months, taking into account the likely date that a well started production, and the typical production profile.

As this is the first time I report Pennsylvania production, and natural gas production, the chance of issues is somewhat higher. If you notice something strange, or if you know this area well and the data presented confirms with your expectation, I would like to hear it.

On Tuesday (edit: Wednesday) I plan a next presentation, on a projection of production from existing LTO wells over the coming 2 decades. Next week Friday I expect a new update on North Dakota, after which I will be on a 2 week holiday.


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

  • PA DEP


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.
  • You can switch between different products (e.g. natural gas, or oil), by using the “Product” selection, present in all tabs.
  • 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, and include or exclude categories.
  • Note that filters & selections 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.