Gas Processing Operations Booming in Northeast
Largely due to the continued exploitation of the rich Marcellus and Utica shale formations, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates that by the end of 2016, wet gas production in the Northeast U.S. could reach as high as 5 billion cubic feet per day (Bcfd).
By the beginning of 2016, NGL production from both of the deposits is expected to total over 650,000 barrels per day (bpd), shattering all-time production records in that region of the country.
In light of this boom, gas processing operations have grown immensely. At the end of 2013, gas plant production in the Northeast was approximately 60,000 bpd; however, with extraction rates continuing to climb, many gas processors are building new downstream infrastructure in an effort to keep up with rising demands.
New facilities being commissioned include state-of-the-art processing plants, expansions, fractionators and deethanizers. Much of this new processing capacity is needed to remove liquids from wet gas so that it can meet pipeline specifications.
Midstream companies are also feeling the effects of the gas boom. Earlier this year, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved three new pipeline projects that are expected to improve delivery capabilities from the Marcellus play and help relieve current capacity constraints.
The Marcellus Shale formation represents approximately 18 percent of the country’s total gas production, and in 2013, production from the basin reached nearly 4 trillion cubic fee (Tcf). Exactly how much recoverable product the basin contains has been hard to pinpoint but some experts estimate it to be as high as 84 Tcf.