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Production of natural gas from the Marcellus Shale is expected to account for about a quarter of the total U.S. natural gas production by 2015, according to a new analysis by investment and consultancy firm Morningstar.

The Marcellus Shale, which spans from New York to West Virginia, is among the most prolific sources of natural gas, along with the Eagle Ford Shale in the south and the Bakken Shale in North Dakota, but its importance as a driver for gas production is set to increase even further over the next couple of years, the report found. The Marcellus Shale will be producing an extra 3 billion cubic feet per day this year and a further 2 billion cubic feet per day in 2015, bringing the total gross production from the play to between 14 billion and 20 billion cubic feet per day. Even at that rate, the play has an estimated 30 to 75 years of resource potential, the analysis said.

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By comparison, the Marcellus Shale currently accounts for about 20 percent of the total natural gas production, with an average output of 10.4 billion cubic feet per day in 2013, according to data from the Energy Information Administration. Morningstar explained that the "astounding" growth of the Marcellus Shale could be put down to the vastly improving efficiency of operations, such as pad drilling and 24-hour operations.