Marcellus and Utica shale gas production is expected to increase exponentially – “almost as much as the entire U.S. produced 10 years ago” – over the next two decades, driving petrochemical manufacturing growth within the Appalachian basin, according to a new study from IHS Markit.
Natural gas production from Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ohio will double by 2040, supplying 45% of total domestic production – an achievement heighted by the fact that the U.S. is the top producing county in the world. According to the study, Appalachian production is expected to grow from 28 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in 2018 to 51 Bcf/d in 2040. The production of natural gas liquids (NGLs), such as ethane, propane and butane, is expected to also double in the same period.
The study, “Estimated Logistics Benefits of the Shale Crescent USA Region Versus the U.S. Gulf Coast for Natural Gas and LPG”, concludes Appalachia – which it calls the ‘breadbasket’ of U.S. natural gas production – “will play a key role in satisfying America’s increasing reliance on natural gas, as well as keeping energy costs moderate.”
These findings have been confirmed by other sources in recent years. A 2018 Department of Energy report made the case that Appalachia is a prime candidate for the establishment of a second American ‘energy hub’, citing the region’s abundance of natural gas as a key competitive advantage.
The prolific Marcellus and Utica plays, as well as its strategic proximity to consumers, will ensure the Tri-State’s long-term natural gas and petrochemical growth, remarked Anthony Palmer, Vice President of Chemical Consulting at IHS Markit:
“The Shale Crescent USA region will be a significant contributor to the supply of natural gas, ethane, and LPG well into the future. The specific supply and logistics of natural gas and LPG in the Shale Crescent USA region affords a cost advantage to its local use within the region, albeit not as significant as that of ethane.”
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