Wintry Blast Causes U.S. Gas Production Decline

Freezing temperatures across the U.S. have resulted in natural gas production shut-ins through the Rockies and western U.S. as well as Midcontinent region, according to Evergreen, Colo.-based Bentek Energy.

Bentek's Supply & Demand Daily report notes that U.S. marketed gas production has declined from between 62.6 and 62.7 Bcf/d to 57.6 Bcf/d, a 5.1 Bcf decline from Jan. 31 to Feb. 3. Approximately 1.2 Bcf/d of that production decline occurred in the Rockies and western U.S, which was the first region hit by freezing temperatures, said Bentek Senior Energy Analyst Matt Marshall.

The Bentek report estimates production based on pipeline nominations in the U.S. pipeline system. While there's a chance that nominations could get revised in later nomination cycles, the data looks very real, said Marshall.

"The Rockies was the first domino to fall, and then was followed by the Midcontinent areas such as the Anadarko Basin and the Permian Basin in western Oklahoma and Texas. Production from the Barnett shale play in the Forth Worth Basin in North Texas was then impacted as the wintry blast hit the Dallas/Ft. Worth area."

Marshall noted that production from liquids-rich shale plays has been more affected than production from the Haynesville play in northern Louisiana, which is drier and deeper than other heavy hydrocarbon plays.

While it will take a few days for nominations to return to normal levels, Marshall does not anticipate any lasting impact by the cold weather on gas production.