Pennsylvania Is Fastest-Growing Natural Gas State

Rockets to third-largest producer in U.S.

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Natural gas production is growing faster in Pennsylvania than anywhere else in the country, and its rate of growth far outpaces any other state, according to new government data.

Between 2011 and 2012, production of natural gas in Pennsylvania grew by 72 percent, rocketing the state from the seventh-largest gas-producing state to the third-largest, according to data released Tuesday by the U.S. Energy Information Administration. At its current pace, the EIA projects Pennsylvania may take Louisiana’s spot as the second-biggest natural gas producer in 2013. The second-fastest growing state in natural gas production, also located along the gas-rich Marcellus Shale formation, is West Virginia, where production grew by 37 percent from 2011 to 2012.

In terms of sheer volume of production, Texas still holds the top spot by, by far, and production there ticked up by 5 percent during the same period.

Pennsylvania has seen a frenzy of drilling activity in recent years, perhaps due to the state’s relative openness to hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking.