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CHARLESTON - West Virginia oil and natural gas production reached record levels in 2018, the 10th straight year of output increases, according to data from the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

According to the DEP's Office of Oil and Natural Gas, production of natural gas last year rose to 1.8 Tcf (trillion cubic feet) from 1.5 Tcf in 2017, a year-over-year increase of 17%.

"To put this monumental volume of gas production into context, the average West Virginia household consumes about 72 Mcf (thousand cubic feet) of natural gas per year," Anne Blankenship, executive director of the West Virginia Oil & Natural Gas Association, said in a news release announcing the data. "We produce enough gas in one day to meet the needs of all West Virginians."

Oil production in West Virginia grew nearly 60%, from 7.5 million barrels in 2017 to 12 million barrels in 2018, according to the data.

Blankenship said this is the largest amount of oil produced since 1900, when the state produced 16 million barrels.

"One of the primary reasons West Virginia is enjoying an historic budget surplus is because of the prolific rise in natural gas and oil production," Blankenship said. "Rising production results in higher severance and property tax receipts which help fund critical services like education, road improvements, and health care, while also creating more jobs for West Virginians."

Blankenship noted that Doddridge County is the state's most prolific natural gas producer at 434 Bcf (billion cubic feet). Production increased 53 Bcf over 2017 levels, growing by 14% year-over-year.

In Tyler County, production grew by 59% to 272 Bcf, making it the state's second largest gas producing county, she said.

Coming in third, Ritchie County saw production increase 26%, rising from 158 Bcf to 200 Bcf in the span of one year, according to the data.

Rounding out the top 10 natural gas producing counties were: Wetzel (198 Bcf); Marshall (163 Bcf); Harrison (123 Bcf); Ohio (71 Bcf); Monongalia (66 Bcf); Taylor (37 Bcf) and Marion (35 Bcf).

Turning to oil production, Marshall County, the state's largest oil producing county, grew 116% year-over-year, rising from 1,347,636 barrels in 2017 to 2,914,894 barrels in 2018.

Ohio County is the state's second leading oil producing county, tallying 2,362,026 barrels in 2018.

Rounding out the top 10 oil producing counties were: Brooke (2,063,152 barrels); Tyler (1,399,594 barrels); Doddridge (1,104,430 barrels); Ritchie (924,024 barrels); Wetzel (640,790 barrels); Clay (92,594 barrels); Lincoln (87,025 barrels); and Roane (78,423 barrels).

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