According to Anne Blankenship, executive director of the West Virginia Oil & Natural Gas Association (WVONGA), “We have only begun to scratch the surface of developing this enormous resource beneath us,” referring to shale oil and gas in the state. As part of a larger interview with WV media, Blankenship shared a list of the 10 biggest natural gas producers in the state, along with the top 10 biggest oil producers in the state. We always dig that kind of information and thought you would too.
We’ll get right to the good stuff. The following stats are from 2017 as WV doesn’t yet have finalized numbers for 2018.
The top 10 natural gas producers in WV, according to WVONGA, are:
Antero Resources Corp.
EQT Production Co.
Swan Production Co.
HG Energy II Appalachia
Jay-Bee Oil and Gas
Northeast Natural Energy
CNX Gas Companies
XTO Energy Inc.
The top 10 oil producers in the state are:
SWN Production Co.
Antero Resources Corp.
HG Energy II Appalachia
Jay-Bee Oil & Gas
Tug Hill Operating
Nytis Exploration Co.
We have to confess the last couple of the names in the oil list are not familiar to us. Perhaps they’re conventional drillers and not shale drillers? We also think “Swan Production Co.” in the gas list is a typo and is supposed to be SWN Production Co., which is Southwestern Energy. We’re not 100% sure, but that’s the only thing that makes sense to us. We’ve never heard of Swan Production operating in our region (although there’s an oil driller in Texas that runs by that name).
Here’s the full article in which the above detail is mentioned:
The evidence of North Central West Virginia’s continued oil and gas boom is hard to miss.
From parking lots filled with heavy-duty pickup trucks to campsites packed with recreational vehicles, the signs of the industry’s activities are everywhere.
Industry experts say production levels for both oil and gas remain on the rise, with new records being set year after year, and projections for the future remain positive.
Anne Blankenship, executive director of the West Virginia Oil & Natural Gas Association, said it’s impossible to overstate the importance of the role the state’s extractive industries play in its economy.
“The oil and natural gas industry is a major economic driver in the state and has the potential to grow even more significantly over the coming years and decades,” she said. “We have only begun to scratch the surface of developing this enormous resource beneath us.”
According to information complied by WVONGA, natural gas production increased by more than 9 percent between 2016 and 2017, while oil production grew by 14.6 percent during the same time period.
A total of 1,514,277,709 thousand cubic feet of natural gas and 7,558,169 barrels of oil were produced in the state in 2017, the most recent year for which production data is available.
During fiscal year 2018, severance tax collections increased by nearly 4.4 percent over the previous fiscal year. Collections for fiscal year 2017 were $133,052,031 and rose to $138,844,391 for fiscal year 2018.
Natural gas pipeline construction jobs — including work on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and Mountain Valley Pipeline projects — increased over 400 percent between the first quarter of 2017 and the second quarter of 2018.
The industry directly employed 17,617 workers in 2017 who were paid more than $1.5 billion in total wages, according to WorkForce West Virginia.
According to WVONGA, the state’s top 10 gas producers in 2017 were: Antero Resources Corp., EQT Production Co., Swan Production Co., HG Energy II Appalachia, Jay-Bee Oil and Gas, Northeast Natural Energy, Arsenal Resources, Ascent Resources-Marcellus, CNX Gas Companies and XTO Energy Inc.
The top 10 oil producers were: SWN Production Co., Antero Resources Corp., Chevron Appalachia, HG Energy II Appalachia, Jay-Bee Oil & Gas, Tug Hill Operating, Ascent Resources-Marcellus, HG Energy, Pillar Energy and Nytis Exploration Co.
Doddridge County remains the epicenter of oil and gas for the state. In 2017, the county produced 380,461,677 thousand cubic feet of gas and 795,519 barrels of oil. The county received $16,145,702 in property taxes from producers and received $2,834,771 in severance tax in 2018.
James Wood, interim director of the Energy Institute at West Virginia University, said the future of West Virginia’s oil and gas industry will depend on numerous factors.
“I don’t think the industry’s future is tied to industry cyclical economics,” he said. “The more likely influencers are severance tax policies, permitting difficulties with skilled labor availability and the general political environment, historically and currently.”
The potential uses for liquid natural gas are still being developed, but hold significant promise, Wood said.
“Those liquids have value, and major international petrochemical companies are showing restrained interest in converting these liquids into value-added products,” he said. “If the petrochemical industry does develop in the tri-state area, it will be, by comparison, less affected by weather events than the Gulf Coast.”
Bob Orndorff, director of state and local government affairs for Dominion Energy, also remains optimistic about the industry’s prospects.
“The Mountain State is known for its abundance of natural resources and has benefited greatly from the development of the energy sector; namely natural gas and its byproducts,” he said. “The region is flush with potential as natural gas production has reached new levels of efficiency and is creating great opportunity for long-term financial prosperity.”
The completion of the MVP and the ACP, which have both faced delays resulting from legal challenges brought by environmental groups, are vital to the industry’s continued success, Orndorff said.
“The key to West Virginia’s natural gas future is pipeline development. Unfortunately, environmental extremists are spending millions to eradicate fossil fuels, making energy more expensive, less reliable and robbing the region of good paying jobs and infrastructure expansion,” he said. “Their delay tactics are not protecting the environment nor are they representing the will of the people. They are harming consumers and working families, damaging our economy and threatening our energy security.”
Additional delays to pipeline projects will result in higher energy costs, delayed access to cleaner energy and less reliable energy for consumers, Orndorff said.
The pipelines are the best strategy for the state to maximize its return on its investments into the industry, Orndorff said.
“The Marcellus and Utica shale formations found in West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania have become the Saudi Arabia of natural gas, but this abundant resource helps no one if it stays in the ground,” he said. “Pipeline development will help secure a foundation for energy independence that will help our economy grow for years.”
Without the development of pipeline infrastructure, the United States will become more dependent on other countries for its energy needs, Orndorff said.
“Our neighbors north of here suffered a natural gas shortage during a recent Arctic blast two years ago, resulting in a foreign liquid natural tanker being docked on the shores of Boston to keep Americans warm with Russian liquid natural gas because of an extensive ban on natural gas infrastructure in the region,” he said. “We must be prudent to not follow this course and not let this region be next in line as an unnecessary purchaser of foreign energy.”*
*Clarksburg (WV) WV News (Apr 13, 2019) – WV oil and gas production projections optimistic; industry continues to set, break records
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