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Natgas Rides Tight Oil Drilling Boom

U.S. associated gas flow doubled from 2007 to 2012


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The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) has reported that although the number of natural gas-directed drilling rigs is particularly low at 250 rotaries, gas production has grown 5% year-over-year.

EIA explained there has been a significant increase in gas reserves and output associated with tight oil production, which requires the presence of natural gas to drive liquids to the wellbore.

It said the importance of tight oil production on gas supplies is illustrated by the 103% increase in Lower 48 gas reserves associated with oil, which doubled from 21.9 Tcf (620 x 106 m3) at year-end 2007 to 44.5 Tcf (1260 x 106 m3) at year-end 2012.

Over that period, EIA said that associated gas reserves in the Williston Basin of North Dakota jumped more than 800%. In Texas they increased 153% due to tight-oil activity in the Eagle Ford shale and in the Permian Basin. And in Colorado they grew 88% because of drilling for tight oil in the Niobrara formation of the Denver-Julesburg Basin.

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