Associated gas production is contained in this category
NGL recovery via processing associated natural gas (and unconventional sources of NGL-rich gas) has been the primary source of growth in overall NGL raw mix production since 2010. The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) changed the definition of associated gas production in its annual natural gas statistics. EIA now includes all gas produced from any shale formation in a new category called “shale gas wells.” While analysts may estimate how much associated gas production is contained in this category, such estimates are no substitute for accurate production statistics obtained from producers.
Shale formations have been an important source of growth in crude oil production and associated gas production (or NGL rich gas), but EIA’s decision to discontinue its historical breakout of associated natural gas production has degraded the value of EIA’s natural gas statistics in NGL supply analysis. Fortunately, oil and gas commissions in some key states continue to require producers to provide details of natural production based on traditional categories.
Texas Railroad Commission (TXRRC) statistics for 2006-09 showed associated gas production in Texas increased by 30-60 MMcfd, and growth rates accelerated to 331 MMcfd/year in fourth-quarter 2010 and 624 MMcfd/year in fourth-quarter 2011. Associated gas production increased by 1 bcfd/year during fourth-quarter 2012 through second-quarter 2013.
Based on growth in associated gas production alone and an NGL content of 6.5 gal/Mscf (GPM), gas plant NGL production in Texas would have increased by 157,000 b/d in 2012 and 145,000-155,000 b/d in the first, second, and third quarters of 2013. EIA gas plant NGL production statistics showed production increased by 206.500 b/d in 2012 and 175,000-225,000 b/d in the first, second, and third quarters of 2013.