Ohio sees big increase in 2016 natural gas production


COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio has overtaken West Virginia to become the nation’s sixth-largest natural gas producer, according to a new report by the Energy Information Administration.

The Columbus Dispatch has reported that companies produced nearly 1.5 trillion cubic feet of gas last year in Ohio compared with 1 trillion cubic feet in 2015. The increase is attributed to new pipelines and top producing wells sending more gas to market.

“The region has been blessed with this great resource below us, and these companies are just starting to tap into that,” said Larry Merry, executive director of the Belmont County Port Authority.

Ohio last year had the largest percentage increase in gas production in the top producing states.

Most of the state’s gas comes from the Utica and Marcellus shale formations, where companies use horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, a process known as fracking.

Ohio’s growth came as production in most states suffered from low oil and gas prices along with oversupply. Natural gas prices dipped to below $2 per thousand cubic feet at one point last year. Pennsylvania, where companies drill in the same shale formations, also reported an increase in production last year.

U.S. production overall decreased about 450 billion cubic feet in 2016 compared with 2015.

Natural gas prices appear to have stabilized at $3 per thousand cubic feet, which could lead to another productive year for gas companies in Ohio.

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Information from: The Columbus Dispatch, http://www.dispatch.com