Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Natural Gas Exports to Keep Rising

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Natural Gas Exports to Keep Rising

Article excerpt

Natural gas production is expected to slow this month for the first time across the country as drillers struggle against low commodity prices and oversupply.

Even so, states in the Marcellus and Utica shale plays spanning Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio are expected to still produce more gas than they can use and export the fuel out of the region.

"We are anticipating that the Northeast will be a net exporter for the average of 2015," said Anne Swedberg, senior energy analyst for Denver-based Bentek Energy. "We are already seeing volumes leave the region this summer."

The rest of the country is expected to catch up later, becoming a net exporter by 2017.

Now, most Marcellus gas is going to the Midwest, the Southeast and Canada. Eventually it will have access to Mexico through pipelines and globally through liquefied natural gas exports.

Through 2017, there will be about 3.4 Bcf/d of capacity additions on two major interstate pipelines, Kinder Morgan's Tennessee Gas Pipeline and Spectra Energy's Texas Eastern Transmission.

In terms of global markets, a bevy of projects are in the works to export liquefied natural gas. The closest such facility, Dominion Resource's Cove Point project in Maryland, will be able to ship 0.7 Bcf/d of LNG overseas starting in late 2017. Late this year, Cheniere Energy's Sabine Pass will begin shipping LNG from the Gulf Coast.

The Marcellus reached a record high of 20.4 Bcf/d on Aug. 24, according to Bentek estimates, "which puts it in line with Texas," Ms. Swedberg said. In 2010, the region produced about 2 Bcf/d.

That record high may be due to the completion of pipeline maintenance in the area, allowing more gas to be shipped from the wellhead, the U.S. Energy Information Administration noted.

The Marcellus and the deeper Utica formation drive much of U.S. production. The Marcellus alone accounted for 21 percent of the country's natural gas production in the first five months of 2015, according to the EIA. …

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