EIA: Gas Processors Key to Rapid Growth in Marcellus/Utica

Ever hear the old proverb: “Success has many fathers, but failure is an orphan.” There are many reasons, many “fathers” for why the Marcellus/Utica region has become the highest producing natural gas region in the U.S. We have great shale rock. We have a lot of shale rock. We’re located close to major markets. We have a large and ready workforce. Increasingly, we have pipeline infrastructure to move the gas to new markets. All of those things contribute to the success of our region. But there’s one element that is critical, but often overlooked–gas processing and fractionation. Gas processing cleans up the hydrocarbons coming out of the ground–removing water and impurities, and separating methane (i.e. natural gas) from natural gas liquids (NGLs). Fractionation further separates NGLs into their components–ethane, propane, butane, pentane, etc. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (our favorite government agency) published an article yesterday looking at they critical role played by processing and fractionation in the Marcellus/Utica. They point out that when the shale revolution really began to take off in our area, circa 2010, we had roughly 1.1 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) of gas processing capacity. In 2016, that number had zoomed up by a factor of nearly 10, to 10 Bcf/d of gas processing capacity. Without the ability the process the gas, it can’t be sold. One of the main “fathers” of success in the Marcellus/Utica, is processing…

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