The paper’s conclusion: drillers are extracting more gas with fewer wells, due to improved technology.
Prior to 2009, thousands of vertical — or “conventional” — wells across Pennsylvania produced about 400 million to 500 million cubic feet of gas per day, according to the study.
Two years later, with the boom in full swing and horizontal drilling the common technique, the state produced about 3.5 billion cubic feet per day.
The preference for horizontal drills was starkly seen in 2011: almost 2,000 new horizontal wells were drilled, whereas only about 500 vertical wells were started.
The study also offered some insight into drilling trends for 2012. Low natural gas prices — and the lure of more lucrative gas in Ohio — have already prompted a year-over-year slowdown in the number of Pennsylvania rigs.
In the first quarter of 2012, drilling started on 618 new gas wells, down from the 700 seen during the same period last year.