Aug. 29–Three regions are driving the growth of U.S. natural gas production as the Gulf of Mexico claims a smaller share of the total.
The U.S. Energy Department reported that the Appalachian Basin in the Northeast, the Permian Basin in West Texas and the Haynesville Shale straddling Texas and Louisiana have grown to account for almost 50 percent of domestic production, up from 15 percent in 2007.
The Gulf of Mexico, meanwhile, accounts for 3 percent of U.S. natural gas production, down from 12 percent in 2007. Producers have shown greater interest in offshore projects in recent months but new wells remain pricier to drill than those onshore.
U.S. natural gas production has surged during the last decade alongside crude oil production, which topped 11 million barrels a day last month for the first time. Tapping gas-rich shale rock with hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has unleashed a cheap and steady supply of natural gas that has fed a petrochemical boom along the Gulf Coast and boosted domestic exports to Mexico and overseas.
U.S. natural gas production in the last several months has approached 100 billion cubic feet a day, roughly 10 percent higher than the same period last year.
The Appalachian Basin, which includes the Utica and Marcellus shale basins in Pennsylvania and Ohio, accounted for 29 percent of total production last month. The Permian, meanwhile, accounted for an estimated 11 percent.
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