The Present and Future of the Appalachian Gas Industry

Eighty-five percent of the growth in the United States natural gas production over the past decade has occurred in Northern to Central Appalachia. Additionally, petrochemical manufacturing, currently in development in the Region, is projected to attract between $16-20 billion in capital investment, and create more than 9,800 jobs directly and indirectly in Appalachia by 2025 noted The Appalachian Energy and Petrochemical Renaissance which was released by the Department of Energy earlier this year.

This week, Dr. Dean Foreman, Chief Economist for the American Petroleum Institute and an expert on domestic and global natural gas markets, briefed ARC staff on the current economic state and future growth potential for the Region’s significant shale gas resources. He noted that U.S. natural gas supply/demand fundamentals remain solid, with prospective market opportunity hinging largely on electricity generation, and that developing regional pipeline capacity enables Appalachian gas to reach diverse markets, thereby increasing demand and prices. Moreover, Dr. Foreman noted that natural gas demand and supply have held up relatively well through the COVID-19 pandemic, and with low prices are expected to support record 38.9% penetration of natural gas into U.S. electricity generation in 2020.