Shale-Gas Output Led Production to Record in 2011, U.S. Says

U.S. natural-gas production rose to an all-time high of 28.5 trillion cubic feet in 2011, led by record output from shale deposits, an Energy Department report showed.

Gross gas output rose 6.2 percent in 2011 from a year earlier, the department’s Energy Information Administration said in its Natural Gas Annual report, released late yesterday.

Production of gas from shale deposits climbed 46 percent to 8.5 trillion cubic feet in 2011, the most in department data going back to 2007. Shale accounted for 30 percent of total output in 2011, up from 22 percent the previous year.

Shale production surged as drilling technologies such as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, made it more economical to extract gas from rock formations such as the Marcellus in the Northeast and the Bakken in North Dakota.

Output from other gas wells fell 7.2 percent to 12.29 trillion, the lowest level in data going back to 1967. The share of total output from other gas wells fell to 43 percent from 49 percent, department data show.

Dry-gas production rose 7.4 percent to 22.9 trillion cubic feet in 2011, an all-time high.

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