Report: Production from Marcellus shale now exceeds 7 billion cubic feet of gas per day

Proper well testing is critical for ensuring that companies are able to fully capitalize on existing opportunities.

According to a new report from IHS, the Marcellus formation has now officially surpassed the Haynesville to become America's most productive shale, measured in terms of natural gas output.

IHS' analysts suggested that the steadily increasing rate of production has "had a significant, positive impact" on a number of the companies that were "early movers" in the region. Furthermore, the firm's report indicated that there is reason to believe production will remain strong in the years to come.

"Interestingly, the number of Marcellus permits issued in 2012 only fell 5 percent from 2011 numbers, which suggests a robust inventory of future locations remain," according to the IHS analysis. "And despite a decrease in activity due to weak natural gas pricing … returns in the play remain relatively strong."

Despite the slight drop in activity, the Marcellus still reportedly boasts more gas-directed drilling rigs that are currently in operation than any other shale play in the United States. According to IHS, exploration and production activity has remained strong throughout the top five counties – Tioga, Susquehanna, Lycoming, Bradford and Washington.

Service providers play a key role in enabling producers to achieve top performance

The IHS Herold Marcellus Shale Company Play Analysis conceded that although some companies have profited handsomely from their investments in the Marcellus, many other firms "have yet to realize their full potential in the play."

Companies that are encountering challenges in the Marcellus may need to partner with a provider of artificial lift solutions to achieve maximum output from their properties. drill stem testing must be conducted periodically to assess the viability of new or established wells and determine the best approach for pumping.

Hydraulic lift equipment can be particularly useful for conducting such tests in a fast, effective manner.