natural gas

Natural Gas/Marcellus Shale

West Virginia is in the leading natural gas-producing area in the nation, and the state's natural gas production has increased with the development of the Marcellus Shale. West Virginia is the eighth-largest natural gas-producing state in the nation, largely because of shale gas production. Natural gas production from shale wells surpassed the production from all other natural gas wells in the state for the first time in 2011. Shale wells now account for more than three-fourths of the state's production. By 2014, West Virginia's shale gas reserves exceeded 28 trillion cubic feet. Additional natural gas reserves exist in West Virginia's conventional natural gas fields and as coalbed methane in the state's many coal fields, although coalbed methane production and proved reserves are minimal.

West Virginia is crossed by more than 4,000 miles of interstate and intrastate natural gas pipelines. New pipeline projects have come online in recent years to move natural gas from the Marcellus-producing areas of West Virginia to markets in the Northeast, Midwest, and Gulf Coast. Many natural gas processing plants and pipelines have been constructed or expanded in north-central West Virginia. The processing plants separate dry natural gas from the associated natural gas liquids produced from the Marcellus Shale. Pipelines have been built or are under construction to expedite development of the Marcellus Shale and the Utica Shale. Those pipelines transport natural gas liquids from Appalachia to the Texas Gulf Coast, as well as from Appalachia to eastern refineries. Natural gas moves in and out of the state via the interstate pipeline systems, entering West Virginia from the surrounding states, primarily Kentucky, and moving on to Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Ohio. On balance, more natural gas exits the state than enters because the amount of natural gas produced in the state is much more than West Virginia's natural gas consumption.

West Virginia has 30 underground natural gas storage fields, all in depleted natural gas reservoirs. Those fields have a total storage capacity in excess of 500 billion cubic feet of natural gas and account for almost 6% of the nation's total underground natural gas storage capacity. The proximity of this storage capacity to northeastern markets makes West Virginia an important supplier to the region during the winter months when natural gas demand peaks.

Natural gas use in West Virginia is spread almost equally across the industrial, commercial, and residential sectors. Because of the many miles of pipeline in the state, about the same amount of natural gas is consumed for pipeline and distribution use as is used in each of the other three sectors. Natural gas use in well, field, and lease operations is also about the same amount as is used in each of the end-use sectors. A small amount of natural gas is used for electric power generation. About two-fifths of West Virginia households use natural gas for home heating. Source: EIA (July 21, 2016)

pipe line