Among the contributing factors to this decline:
- Increasing amounts of domestic, on-shore production, primarily from shale gas and tight oil formations. In 2012, nearly 40 percent (over 26 Bcf/d according to Lippman Consulting, Inc.) of U.S. dry natural gas production came from production in shale plays, increasing over 20 fold from 2000 levels. In 2012, the two most productive shale plays were the Haynesville play in Louisiana and Texas, and the Marcellus play in Pennsylvania. In the Marcellus play, despite reduced drilling activity, production increased by almost 70 percent in 2012 over year ago levels. Increased drilling in tight oil plays like the Eagle Ford play in Texas has contributed to increased associated natural gas production.
- Relatively low natural gas prices. Low natural gas prices in recent years have diminished the economic incentive for off shore natural gas directed drilling. However, relatively high crude oil prices continue to support oil directed drilling and the production of associated gas, particularly in deep waters. New large deepwater projects directed toward liquids development are projected to reverse the decline in natural gas production from the Gulf of Mexico in 2015, according EIA's Annual Energy Outlook 2013 Early Release.
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