If the Marcellus Shale region were a country, its natural gas production would rank eighth in the world.
That's according to the Energy Information Administration, an arm of the Department of Energy whose job it is to objectively assess energy production.
Marcellus production in the region has reached 12 billion cubic feet a day, the energy equivalent of about 2 million barrels of oil a day.
That's also more than six times the 2009 production rate.
That's energy not being imported from foreign countries or energy being exported to the best advantage of our country.
The Marcellus Shale production was supposed to be leveling off or even slumping this year. Some slump.
According to the Energy Information Administration, there are 4,000 wells producing natural gas in Pennsylvania and the majority of the Marcellus Shale production is coming from Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
When the Marcellus Shale boom hit our region, there were projections of a 50-year economic impact.
The naysayers regarding the industry labeled the industry either a fraud, a fad or an environmental armageddon in the making.
Several years later, the industry is producing real numbers with real impact. Many residents are now making natural gas their primary energy source at home and saving money that comes from proximity to product. Others have benefitted from natural gas leases on their properties.
As for the environment, the vigilance must never end but to date there have been few missteps of signifigance. That part of the equation is within the control of the industry and governmental agencies and if there is a sincere partnership between the two, energy production and the environment can coexist.
The industry has its critics who will never be satisfied. So be it. But any objective analysis would grade the presence of the natural gas drilling boom as a plus for our region.