Department of Energy

Department of Energy Publishes Natural Gas Liquids Primer

June 27, 2018

You are here

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) published the 2018 Natural Gas Liquids (NGLs) primer that highlights the resource potential of NGLs, with a focus on the Appalachian region.  This publication provides an important update of a previous version from 2017, reporting even larger projections for ethane production from the Marcellus and Utica shale plays than previously estimated. 

The 2018 primer includes new data from the reference case for the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) 2018 Annual Energy Outlook as well as forecasts from a recent EIA Short-term Energy Outlook. The new data includes updated information regarding infrastructure developments in the Appalachian region, and a new section identifying research and development opportunities related to natural gas and NGLs production, conversion, and storage.

This primer shows that the Appalachian region has experienced near-exponential growth in natural gas production, and that production is expected to increase for decades to come.  EIA now projects that natural gas production in the East region, where the Appalachian Basin is the principal contributor, will quadruple from 2013 to 2050. 

Natural gas produced in Appalachia contains valuable resources in the form of NGLs, including ethane and propane.  The region is endowed with significant NGL resources projected to be economically recoverable over the next three decades.  Specifically, Appalachian NGLs production is projected to increase over 700 percent from 2013 to 2023. 

Significant industry investments in natural gas and NGLs infrastructure, as showcased in the 2018 primer, will support the boom in Appalachian production in the coming decades. NGLs storage and midstream infrastructure are of particular importance to the region because produced volumes do not align with the high seasonal variability in demand and often exceed pipeline takeaway capacity, which presents further investment opportunities using ethane as a feedstock. 

To access the primer in full click here.