Despite improved drilling and completion techniques such as the drilling of longer horizontal laterals, natural gas production from the Appalachian Basin cannot continue on its current rapid upward trajectory indefinitely, a speaker at the Platts Appalachian Oil and Gas Conference in Pittsburgh said Monday.

Appalachian producers will eventually experience "sweet spot exhaustion," Alan Farquharson, senior vice president of Range Resources, said on the sidelines of the conference.

"As you drill longer and longer laterals, it minimizes the number of wells it takes to develop that core position," Farquharson said. "As a result, the core of the acreage gets drilled up, you have to step out to tier one, tier two and tier three wells, which means you get lower productivity per well."

Forecasts from Platts Analytics' Bentek Energy unit call for production from the US Northeast to grow from an average 24.9 Bcf/d in September to a winter-ending average of 27.3 Bcf/d in March 2018.

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I'm sure that there are plenty of people counting on that. hahaha.

The fact they are drilling much longer laterals is negated by the fact they are using far fewer drilling rigs. They are getting more gas/ft because of improved fracking techniques. And all of that is limited by the lack of enough pipelines to move all the gas they could drill and the low price that dis-incentives accelerating drilling.

Since they are getting more and more MCF/ft it will take longer to get to tier two and three areas. And the continuing exploration that finds more and more productive shale fields across the country.  Add in that much of the nat gas is that which is associated with oil drilling that also competes with dry gas shale.

There still needs to be spacing between the laterals. They can only drill so many before they start encroaching on each other. Especially, if the other pads are close.

Seems like an overly obvious assessment to me. Economically feasible recoverable natural gas is a finite resource in a given geographic area , and whether Gascos develop 50 pads with long laterals or 100 pads with an equal length of shorter is one depleting faster that the other??

Me thinks the author of this paper was looking for new grant money....or a BIG raise!

I can't believe nobody is talking about the other Shale Plays in the sweet spot!  Utica,  ect.......  Yes, obvious production drops at some point, but that time frame is significant more than the expert projected.

What determines the maximum length of a well bore from the ground surface to the end of the well?  Is it drill rig capability or fracking capability?   It seems the maximum length usually is around 20-21,000'.   A friend and I are having this discussion and there seems to be this consistency with maximum lengths of all wells whether they be MS or Utica.  The initial well depth seems to determine what the maximum lateral can be.    Anyone know?   Does this story give hope to the fairway landowners for drilling sooner then later?


One factor is the depth rating of the drilling rig employed. While most any 'local' workover rig outfit can do the shallow work, the deep stuff requires a larger rig.

Google 'Ensign Rig Locator'; there you will find the depth ratings of one of the deep drilling outfits working the Marcellus and Utica area.

I have read recently of some extra deep/long laterals drilled in the western part of the play, from memory, the total drilled depth approaches or exceeds 25,000'

Of course these opinions are based on information available now.

Who knows what may change.

Very true


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