Natural gas production booms in neighboring states, but Kentucky struggles to keep pace

Nat gasWASHINGTON — The fracking revolution is not being kind to Kentucky’s role as an American energy leader. It’s helping to decimate coal while struggling to deliver a natural gas boom on par with neighboring states.

Kentucky’s natural gas production more than doubled from 2008 to 2009. But the growth largely stalled in recent years, and analysts are saying the state isn’t attracting the same interest from major drillers as West Virginia and Ohio.

Kentucky poses challenges that don’t exist for drilling natural gas from the deep underground Marcellus shale rock in West Virginia or the Utica shale in Ohio, said Terry Engelder, an oil and gas industry consultant and geoscientist at Pennsylvania State University. The high pressure of the Marcellus and Utica shales helps in drilling for natural gas because it drives the gas into the wells.

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