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EIA: associated natural gas production increased 9% in 2022

Published by , Editorial Assistant
Hydrocarbon Engineering,

In 2022, annual production of associated-dissolved natural gas (or associated natural gas) increased 9% to 15.5 billion ft3/d in the major US onshore crude oil-producing regions (Permian, Bakken, Eagle Ford, Niobrara, and Anadarko) mostly due to an 8% increase in crude oil production.

Associated natural gas accounted for more than a third of total natural gas production in these regions and 14% of total US natural gas production.

Associated natural gas refers to natural gas that is dissolved in crude oil under the pressure of a geologic formation and is then released when the pressure on the crude oil is relieved by bringing it to the surface.

Increasing crude oil production in the Permian region, which spans parts of western Texas and southeastern New Mexico, is driving the growth in associated natural gas production. Currently the largest of the five major US crude oil-producing regions, the Permian region produces more crude oil than the other four regions combined. In 2022, the Permian region increased production of crude oil by 12% and associated natural gas by 15%. Associated natural gas production in the Permian region increased by 1.3 billion ft3/d to average 10.2 billion ft3/d for the year, and it accounted for 56% of US total associated natural gas production. In recent years, new pipeline takeaway capacity additions are also facilitating associated natural gas production growth.

Associated natural gas contains higher ratios of natural gas plant liquids (NGPLs) (such as ethane, propane, normal butane, isobutane, and natural gasoline) than non-associated natural gas. NGPLs are used as fuel for heating and transportation and as feedstocks to produce plastics, resins, and other petrochemicals. Like associated natural gas production, NGPL production has set several consecutive annual record highs, rising to an annual average of 5.9 million bpd in 2022. The Texas Inland region, which includes much of the Permian region, accounted for 53% of total US ethane production and 49% of total NGPL production in 2022, up from 51% of ethane production and 46% of NGPL production in 2021, according to the EIA's Petroleum Supply Monthly.

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