The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

The Energy Revolution Will Be Charted

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted August 5, 2014

A couple of snapshots of America’s shale energy boom, with a h/t to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

First, Marcellus Shale natural gas production topped 15 billion cubic feet per day (bcf/d) through July, a first. EIA reports that the Marcellus accounts for 40 percent of U.S. shale gas production. Output has grown to its current level from 2 bcf/d in 2010. EIA’s chart:


The story behind the Marcellus story is that while rig counts have remained steady, natural gas production continues to rise because of better technology and greater efficiency. EIA:

The rig count in the Marcellus Region has remained steady at around 100 rigs over the past 10 months. Given the continued improvement in drilling productivity, which EIA measures as new-well production per rig, EIA expects natural gas production in the Marcellus Region to continue to grow. With 100 rigs in operation and with each rig supporting more than 6 million cubic feet per day in new-well production each month, new Marcellus Region wells coming online in August are expected to deliver over 600 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d) of additional production. This production from new wells is more than enough to offset the anticipated drop in production that results from existing well decline rates, increasing the production rate by 247 MMcf/d.

EIA points out that increasing production means more energy infrastructure is needed to keep pace with the growth, including more pipelines. Yet, the bottom line is growth in Marcellus natural gas output means the shale play will be able to meet winter demand across a larger area than before, according to the agency.

EIA also took a look at Bakken Shale oil production – also booming, pushing North Dakota output to more than 1 million barrels per day (bbl/d) in April and May. EIA’s chart:


The Bakken formation isn’t new, but advanced hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling have revolutionized production. EIA:

Although Bakken oil production initially began in the 1950s at Antelope Field in North Dakota, large-scale production growth did not begin until after the discovery of the Parshall Field in 2007. Since then, advances in drilling methods and technology, a better understanding of the geology of the Bakken, higher crude oil prices, and the formation's large size and number of wells all have contributed to higher production and to the potential for continued future growth.

Production from these shale plays – as well as those in Texas, Colorado, Ohio, Louisiana, Oklahoma and other states – is at the heart of the U.S. energy revolution. Rising domestic oil and natural gas production is rewriting America’s energy story – and in the process creating jobs in the industry and in supporting sectors, driving a U.S. manufacturing renaissance and broad economic growth and generating new revenues for governments.

Safe, responsible energy development is making America more prosperous, more self-sufficient and stronger in the world. By choosing energy – policies that support development of more domestic oil and natural gas – this American energy revolution can continue. 


Mark Green joined API after a career in newspaper journalism, including 16 years as national editorial writer for The Oklahoman in the paper’s Washington bureau. Mark also was a reporter, copy editor and sports editor. He earned his journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma and master’s in journalism and public affairs from American University. He and his wife Pamela live in Occoquan, Va., where they enjoy their four grandchildren.