By DAVID BIRD
NEW YORK -- Early data show June natural gas production in the Lower 48 states appear to have set a record, government figures released Friday show.
The figures from the Energy Information Administration show estimated June gas output averaged 73.62 billion cubic feet/day. That figure would top the November 2012 revised figure of 73.54 bcf/day as the highest recorded by the EIA since it began keeping such records in 2005.
Initial estimates of gas output usually are revised in subsequent monthly reports. But the early data support a trend of steady gains.
The EIA revised up its May gas output figure to 73.51 bcf/day from the initial estimate published a month earlier of 73.37 bcf/day.
The initial June figure is equal to a 1.8% rise from the revised June 2012 level of 72.29 bcf/day.
The current record output figure for the Lower 48 states, based on revised data, of 73.54 bcf/day in November 2012, had been revised down from an initial figure of 73.88 bcf/day.
The EIA said the largest output rise in June came from the so-called other states area, or those outside the traditional producing areas of Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and Wyoming. Output from these states increased 2.0%, or 0.51 bcf/day, from the May level, to a record of 26.13 bcf/day. The rise came as "operators reported new wells in the Marcellus Shale," the EIA said.
The EIA said gas output in Wyoming rose 2.7%, or 0.15 bcf/day, from a month earlier, primarily because of new wells and a gas plant coming back online. Wyoming's otuput rose for the first time in two months, to 5.78 bcf/day, the highest level since April.
Output in the Gulf of Mexico dropped 7%, or 0.26 bcf/day, from May, to 3.43 bcf/day, the lowest monthly level on records beginning in January 2005, "because of platform shut-ins for scheduled maintenance and repairs," the EIA said.
Texas production decreased 0.9%, or 0.21 bcf/day, from May, to 22.33 bcf/day, as a carbon dioxide plant was down for the month, the EIA said.
Steady growth in gas output is cited by analysts as a key factor in keeping inventories near five-year average levels and helping keep a cap on price rallies.
Dow Jones Newswires