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Pa. annual natural gas production falls for first time in 10 years

  • Rachel McDevitt
A natural gas well in northeastern Pennsylvania.

Susan Phillips / StateImpact PA

A natural gas well in northeastern Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania’s natural gas production fell for the first time in a decade last year.

An analysis from the state’s Independent Fiscal Office shows drillers produced 1.6% less gas in 2022 than the year before, the first annual drop since data became available in 2012. 

According to data from the Department of Environmental Protection, production in the final quarter of 2022 was down 5.1% from the same time a year earlier. That’s the largest year over year decline recorded since 2015. 

The IFO says lower average productivity per well suggests that the share of older, less productive wells has grown and new drilling hasn’t been enough to offset losses. 

Annual growth in producing wells has been declining since 2019, according to DEP data. 

Federal data shows other major gas-producing states did not see a decline. Texas drillers pulled nearly 6% more gas from the ground last year and Louisiana production grew by 17%. 

Though they pulled less gas from the ground, Pennsylvania companies drilled 10% more wells in 2022 than the year before. However, drilling slowed in the last three months of the year, and preliminary data shows new wells are down so far in 2023. 

The average price of natural gas in Pennsylvania was $4.45 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) at the end of last year. That’s 12% higher than the same time the year before, but down from a high of $6.89 per MMBtu earlier last year. 

The IFO says the price drop was mainly because mild winter weather kept demand down.

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