U.S. shale gas output breaking records

Production in "unchartered territory," Bentek analysis finds.

By Daniel J. Graeber

DENVER, Nov. 7 (UPI) -- U.S. natural gas production has risen for the 10th consecutive month, moving steadily into "unchartered territory," analysis from Platts finds.

Bentek Energy, the forecasting unit of Platts, found gas production in the Lower 48 states averaged 69.9 billion cubic feet per day in October, breaking the previous record and posting the 10th straight month of gains.


Gas production in October was 7.9 percent higher year-on-year.

Jack Weixel, director of analysis at Bentek, said projects slated to come online in the U.S. northeast should push the U.S. gas output above the 72 billion cubic feet per day mark by the end of the year.

"The current level of production is unchartered territory for the domestic natural gas market and shows no signs of slowing," Weixel said in a Thursday statement.

Bentek estimates total U.S. average production for the year will be 67.9 billion cubic feet per day because of growth from the Utica, Marcellus and other premier shale basins.

Utica is an emerging shale play in the United States. The Energy Information Administration included Utica shale, which lies geologically beneath the Marcellus shale, in its monthly drilling productivity report in August because of increased productivity.


EIA said drilling productivity in the Utica shale has outpaced others in the region, including Marcellus.

In 2009, Bentek said the United States averaged 55.1 billion cubic feet per day in natural gas production.

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