From the Marcellus: Wet Gas Fetches 75-Percent More than Dry Gas

Telegram from Wheeling: Dearest Petunia. Stop. Natural gas liquids plentiful in Wheeling. Stop. Sell dowry and join me. Stop. Fondly, Wilbur. Stop. (image: Ryan Stanton via flickr.com)

What’s the difference between wet natural gas and dry natural gas? About $3 per thousand cubic feet.

They were telling that one in Wheeling, W. Va. yesterday, when a trio of natural gas boosters met with the citizenry, according to the local Intelligencer. And it was surely welcome news in Wheeling (nickname: The Friendly City), which sits atop a pocket of gas that contains natural gas liquids (NGLs), including propane, butane, and ethane. This wet gas fetches $7 per thousand cubic feet, compared to $4 for dry gas, according to one of the speakers.

It’s no shocker that propane and the other sidekick NGLs improve the financials on a natural gas dig, but the numbers from West Virginia are curious. (And they should serve as a reminder for any mineral owners leasing out land in the state: make sure you collect on the byproduct liquids, too.)

The three industry reps — from a trade group, a PR firm, and an exploration and production company — are on a state tour to promote the fuel. That should be an easier job now, one day after the president urged the nation to increase its consumption of domestic natural gas in lieu of imported oil.

The West Virginia panhandle has been a target for energy companies tapping the Marcellus shale, the natural gas-rich rock formation that runs below parts of the Appalachians. While some of the Marcellus haul comes up dry, or primarily methane, the gas under Ohio and Marshall counties has been identified as rich with NGLs.

That has spurred development in the state’s panhandle, the thin finger of land that runs north of the country. In January, Dominion Energy announced plans to open a gas processing plant in Marshall County, two weeks before Caiman Energy completed work on its Marshall County facility.

Lastly: the Wheeling Intelligencer & News Register is due for a nod at this point, for its daily coverage from the Marcellus. Thanks, guys.