Shale gas wells became the largest source of total natural gas production in the United States last year, surpassing production from non-shale natural gas wells.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), total U.S. natural gas gross withdrawals reached a new high of 82 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in 2013. This measure encompasses full well stream production including all natural gas plant liquids and non-hydrocarbon gases after oil, lease condensate and water have been removed.
Within that total, gross withdrawals from shale gas wells increased to 33 Bcf/d in 2013, from 5 Bcf/d in 2007, representing 40% of total natural gas production.
New technology has enabled producers to focus their production on resources that are now easier to reach and have lower drilling costs. These trends have been reflected in the lower market price of natural gas, the EIA said.
U.S. shale production has expanded significantly since 2007, when shale gas wells accounted for just 8% of total natural gas produced in the country and 63% of shale gas production came from Texas.
The distribution of shale gas production by state has changed most notably in Texas, Pennsylvania, Louisiana and Arkansas. These states accounted for 26 Bcf/d, or 79% of U.S. shale production in 2013.
Total U.S. gross natural gas production from non-shale natural gas wells has decreased by 25%, from 41 Bcf/d in 2007 to 31 Bcf/d in 2013.