The boom of Marcellus Shale hasn’t died although much of the front page news about it now seems less evident.
“There’s still growth in that field,” said state Commerce Secretary Keith Burdette. “It’s probably calmed down quite honestly because it’s become more routine.”
Burdette admits the price of natural gas hit rock bottom and that too has slowed development plans. However, even that is starting to break loose.
“Gas prices are starting to eek up to 4-dollars,” he said. “That’s where it gets more profitable to drill.”
While the prices have been low, drilling companies have concentrated their efforts on what Burdette terms “the wet zone.” The location is in Marshall and Wetzel counties and some of the surrounding areas. There companies are producing not only natural gas, but other wet gas products like butane and propane. He says it’s more profitable because there are more products which can be produced from wells in that region.
Burdette says the state positioned is well for gas production. He says rules in West Virginia are clear, understandable, agreeable with the companies, and competitive with surrounding states. He says where there needs to be some activity on the downstream side of the production. The loss of the cracker to Shell in Pennsylvania was only one project. Burdette says they are courting several more.
“At least in the companies we’re still talking to, they may be ahead of the curve,” he said. “They are doing detailed analysis of all of the costs so they can make a calculated and final decision. The site Shell picked it not even vacant yet.”