Pennsylvania saw the number of gas wells producing drop from 57,000 in 2009 to 44,000 in 2010, according to EIA data. The sharp drop in gas wells did not bring an equivalent decline in gas production. Instead Pennsylvania produced much more gas from less wells.
Pennsylvania produced 572 billion cubic feet of gas during 2010, making it then the 8th biggest gas producing state. Pennsylvania production increased more than 250% since 2005, when it produced approximately 163 billion cubic feet. Production will have rose still further during 2011 and will likely exceed 1.5 trillion cubic feet in 2012. At that level, Pennsylvania will become a top 5 gas producing state.
The 2010 decline in the number of producing wells is explained by the shutting in of about 13,000 small, traditional gas wells that are not profitable in the low-price gas environment of 2010 and 2011. It is likely, therefore, that the total number of producing wells in Pennsylvania declined again in 2011.
The big jump in production, despite the 23% decline in the 2010 number of producing wells, results from the approximately 2,000 Marcellus shale wells that were drilled in Pennsylvania by the close of 2010. A small fraction of Pennsylvania's total wells were producing 70% of the state's total gas in 2010.