Natural Gas Production Soars in U.S.

Record Low Storage Levels Persist Despite Increased Production
EIA Dry Shale Gas Production

EIA Dry Shale Gas Production | Click to Enlarge

Natural gas production in the U.S. was the best it’s ever been in April of 2014 according to estimates from Bentek Energy, an energy market analytics company based in Denver, CO. Production for the onshore Lower 48 last month averaged 67.3 Bcf/d, which was about .5 Bcf/d higher than March of 2014 production levels of 66.8 Bcf/d.

In 2014, Bentek predicts that average U.S. production for natural gas will be 67.5 Bcf/d, due in part to a higher overall price environment for producers and continued growth in liquids-rich plays like the Eagle Ford Shale and dry gas plays like the Marcellus Shale.  Currently, natural gas is trading at 4.53/mmbtu, which is a higher price point than some analysts expected due to the increased production volumes.

Jack Wiexel, Bentek director of energy analysis, said in a company statement,”natural gas producers are enjoying a relatively robust price environment despite substantially increased output the past two months.”

Despite the increase in production, the natural gas market is facing record low storage levels. While the EIA predicts storage build for the upcoming injection season (Apr РOct) will be record breaking, total Lower 48 end-October inventories in 2014 would still be at their lowest level since 2008.

Wiexel said, “U.S. consumers need the production levels seen in March and April to continue throughout the summer to avoid high prices in the winter.”

Natural Gas Production in the Eagle Ford

Not surprisingly, gas to oil ratios (GOR) indicate there is a greater focus on oil in the Eagle Ford, but since significant activity began in 2009, there has also been a tremendous spike in natural gas production. According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), gas production in the Eagle Ford accounted for nearly 4,000 MMcf/d in June of 2013, compared to only 5.8 MMcf/d in 2009. The Eagle Ford accounts for about 5% of total natural gas production in the onshore Lower 48.

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