Numbers show gas industry here is major energy player

Remember all that trepidation about the direction of the natural gas drilling industry in Pennsylvania in the past year?

You can apparently put those worries to rest.

Bentak, a Colorado company that analyzes energy trends and is considered very reliable by government and industry sources, says 2013 gas production in Pennsylvania is up about 50 percent compared with last year.

In the first six months of the year, Pennsylvania produced about 1.5 trillion cubic feet of gas, with projections for a year-end total of 3.2 trillion cubic feet. That annual number is the equivalent to about 550 million barrels of oil.

The production numbers are outpacing projections, according to Bentak officials.

Perhaps most significantly, Marcellus gas is starting to displace production from the Gulf of Mexico in some places. In other words, places in the Northeast that were relying on natural gas from the Gulf of Mexico or Canada five years ago are now relying on Pennsylvania-produced gas.

Surpluses will soon start flowing to the South and Midwest. What’s more, there is still a backlog of about 2,000 wells that have already been drilled but aren’t hooked up to pipelines for production yet. When the gas industry here was growing a few years ago, critics said the industry was overstating its potential for economic development and energy supply impact.

The proof is in the pudding and now that the infrastructure is in place, it is more obvious by the day that the Marcellus shale gas production is a major energy provider for the nation and a key employment nest for our region.

Those who feel negatively toward the industry will not be swayed by the realities of production and employment. We are aware of that.

The best things that can happen are for the industry to continue to produce a hefty natural gas supply that moves the country toward energy independence and to do it within all environmental regulations. Track record is the ultimate reply to criticisms, rumor-mongering and negativity.