How easy it is to forget there are limits to growth, especially when what you observe is designed to make us forget. The great Marcellus is famous for having increased its production 12-fold in four years to become the US’ largest producing natural gas field, but things have not looked that great lately. The average daily production estimate reported by EIA in January was 16319, in February was 16550 a gain of 1.4%, in March was 16600, a gain of 0.3% in April has been 16706, a gain of0.9% and is projected to be 16716 MMcf/d in May, a gain of 0.06%. Not a stellar performance.: a gain of 2.4% in 4 months, most of that at the beginning. Any bets that it will be going down by July? Where is the mighty Marcellus?
There are recent projections of Marcellus growth that show production or slow fall-off in coming decades, such as that of David Hughes, “Drilling Deeper,” http://www.postcarbon.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Drilling-Deeper_FULL.pdf and the EIA analysis discussed by Hughes, that predict that far more gas will be produced there in coming years and decades than the USGS says are technically available. Compare http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/article.asp?ID=2893/ They make no attempt to reconcile their concluions with those of USGS They are in effect making rosy projections based upon the ability of Marcellus to keep on growing and producing through technology that doesn’t presently exist and of which they do not tell us the nature. Addtionally, what is ecoomically avilable is is generaly substantially less than what is technically available. You cannot produce gas you don’t know how to produce, and you cannot produce gas you cannot afford to produce. Those who say Marcellus will go one being “mighty” ignore, as we shall see, these basics.