Even at today's low natgas prices of $3.35 per thousand cubic feet of gas, the top well produces over $100,000 worth of gas per day.
And these wells are not necessarily unique. As The Wall Street Journal has reported:
Natural gas production from the Marcellus Shale region is growing faster than expected...
Marcellus production has now reached 12 billion cubic feet a day…That's the energy equivalent of about 2 million barrels of oil a day, and more than six times the 2009 production rate.
For perspective, if the Marcellus Shale region were a country, its natural gas production would rank eighth in the world. The Marcellus now produces more natural gas than Saudi Arabia, and that glut has led to wholesale prices here that are about one-quarter of those in Japan, for example.Policy always takes time to catch up to reality, but the astounding productivity of unconventional gas development in the Marcellus play begs some questions. Here are four of them:
Will this productivity last?
Is it economically sustainable?
Are we as a nation using this bounty wisely (and there are varying interpretations on this subject) to advance a climate-safe, renewable energy future?
Should the arguments against additional, more stringent regulation and taxation of the industry - at either the state or Federal levels - because they might inhibit development, really be taken seriously?