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11:06 PM, Sep. 5, 2012 by Steve Reilly in
While New York’s decision on hydrofracking still hangs in the balance, the Southern Tier hasn't quite dried up as a source of conventionally drilled natural gas.

Production figures for 2011, recently released by the state Department of Environmental Conservation following a half-year waiting period, show the Trenton-Black River formation is still supplying billions of cubic feet of natural gas at wells in Chemung, Chenango and other counties.

The state’s total reported gas production last year was 31.1 billion cubic feet, a 13 percent decrease from production in 2010.

While the state continues to supply natural gas, last year’s figures represent a 38.2 percent reduction from 2008, when the state produced a high of 50.3 billion cubic feet.

Despite the downturn, the Southern Tier continued to be the the most prolific producer, with previously drilled wells in the Trenton-Black River formation continuing to bring natural gas to the surface.

Of the state’s 8,304 active natural gas wells, the most productive last year was an Anschutz Production Corp. well in the Town of Horseheads that drew 2.2 billion cubic feet of gas. Including others in the towns of Big Flats and Erin, Chemung County was home to four of the state’s top 10 producing wells.

Tioga County’s only productive well, owned by Talisman Energy in the Town of Spencer, produced 150 million cubic feet of natural gas — about enough to heat 2,100 homes for a year.

In Chenango County, Norse Energy’s 40 active wells harvested 1.6 billion cubic feet of natural gas last year.

While New York continues to produce some natural gas, its production has been dwarfed by other states where energy companies are allowed to hydraulically fracture wells in shale formations, bringing large volumes of gas to the surface. In Pennsylvania, just over 1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas was produced in 2011.

“New York’s falling natural gas production is troublesome for the state and its economy,” said John Krohn, a spokesman for the industry-funded group Energy In Depth. “While (Gov. Andrew Cuomo) is declaring New York ‘open for business’ and Mayor Bloomberg is stating natural gas is key to improving New York City’s air quality and public health, the state is continuing to rely on natural gas imports due to declining production in the Trenton-Black River formation.”

Hydrofracking in the Marcellus and Utica shale formations in New York has been put on hold for the past four years as the state Department of Environmental Conservation continues its review of the technique.

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