Pennsylvania has the highest gasoline tax in the country, narrowly ahead of New York.
The Marcellus Formation derives its name from Marcellus, N.Y., a small town adjacent to an outcropping of the shale. But the state has not capitalized on the play because of a statewide ban on fracking—one of only two such bans in the country.
The Marcellus States—New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia—sit atop the Marcellus shale, an organic-rich black shale formation extending throughout the Appalachian Basin. The formation’s natural gas deposits have been well-known for decades, but the depth and tightness of the shale made gas exploration difficult and extraction economically unfeasible. Interest increased, however, in the mid-2000s due to several coincident developments: increases in both natural gas prices and commercial demand, elevated estimates of the formation’s recoverable gas deposits and advances in gas well technology (specifically horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing).
Today, the Marcellus shale is the largest natural gas producing region in the United States, accounting for nearly 40% of U.S. shale gas production. The region’s dry natural gas production more than tripled between 2011 and 2014, and the Energy Information Administration expects the region’s natural gas production to continue to increase. This is good news for the region’s energy consumers, as production is now on track to equal the combined winter home heating demand for many eastern states.
According to a recent study from ICF International, gas-prone developments from the Marcellus shale play are projected to spur almost $70 billion in gas-related infrastructure investments between now and 2035. The Northeast as a whole will account for more than one-fourth of all U.S. capacity expansions for natural gas pipeline investment through 2020 and about a third of natural gas liquids pipeline capacity.
The New York Harbor is a logistics hub for refined petroleum products from the Gulf Coast (which arrive by pipeline), from abroad (which arrived by tanker) and from refineries in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
More natural gas processing plants are being constructed or expanded in north central West Virginia to separate the dry methane part of the gas stream from the ethane, butane, propane and pentane, which are collectively known as natural gas liquid.
Much of the increase in production is from the Marcellus shale region in or near eastern Ohio, which is a boon for a state that is one of the top 10 natural gas-consuming states in the nation.