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Beltway Confidential

Marcellus shale to account for 18 percent of U.S. natural gas production

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Beltway Confidential,Ashe Schow,Fracking,Natural Gas

An increase in shale extraction from the Marcellus area in Pennsylvania and West Virginia should account for 18 percent of total U.S. natural gas production for December, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Thirteen billion cubic feet per day should be extracted this month, a huge increase from the 2 billion cubic feet per day produced in 2010.

“The rise of Marcellus production in both absolute terms and as a share of total U.S. production is a key development in a rapidly evolving U.S. natural gas market,” EIA said.

The increase in shale drilling, not only in the Marcellus formation but across the United States, is putting pressure on the Middle East to find new buyers for its oil. With the nation weaning itself off of imported oil - not completely, of course, but the process has begun - Saudi Arabia and other Middle East countries can't rely on America to purchase its oil.

U.S. refineries are currently built to refine Middle Eastern oil, but are in the process of converting to heavy crude from Gulf Coast producers and natural gas.

“The process is starting very, very slowly to convert our refineries and when that happens then that will be the end of Middle Eastern crude for the U.S.,” Chris Faulkner, CEO of Breitling Energy Corporation, said. “I think within five to 10 years, the U.S. could free itself from Middle Eastern heavy crude and that would be a game-changer.”

Despite this shale revolution, many Democrats continue to try and halt the natural gas process. The Pennsylvania State Democratic Committee is trying to halt hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," in the state.

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