Kansas oil production jumps; natural gas continues decline

04/17/2014 6:21 PM

04/17/2014 6:22 PM

Oil production in Kansas took another leap in 2013, rising 7.2 percent from the year before, while natural gas production in the state continued its long slide, according to final figures compiled by the Kansas Geological Survey.

Kansas producers extracted the most oil since the early 1990s assisted by the horizontal drilling boom in the several counties along the Oklahoma state line.

Oil production in Harper County, immediately southwest of Sedgwick County, more than doubled in 2013 from the year before and has more the quadrupled since 2009. Other counties seeing strong increases in recent years include nearby Comanche and Barber counties.

However, central and western Kansas still have most of the state’s highest producing counties, where traditional vertical drilling dominates. The state’s top producing county, by far, remains Ellis County with more than 3.5 million barrels of oil. Other top producing counties in the area include Barton, Ness, Russell, Rooks, Finney, Trego, Stafford, Gove, Haskell and Graham counties.

Oil prices remain high, which has pushed exploration companies to continue to drill.

On the other hand, production of gas in Kansas is now down 18 percent since 2009, and was less than half of its most recent peak set in 1996.

Naturally declining production in the state’s gas fields, especially in the Hugoton field in southwest Kansas, hasn’t been helped by low natural gas prices since 2009.

The number of gas wells in Kansas kept rising until 2009, when the national shale gas revolution caused the price of gas to tumble to below $4 per thousand cubic feet. Since then, the number of wells has started to decline.

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