Virginia’s first commercial natural gas well was drilled near Bristol in 1931, in what would become known as the Early Grove Gas Field. Since that time the majority of Virginia’s natural gas production has originated from a region known as the Appalachian Plateau, which consists primarily of the coalfields in Buchanan, Dickenson, Russell, Scott, Tazewell and Wise Counties in southwestern Virginia.
Approximately 7,000 wells have been drilled in the Commonwealth of Virginia in search of natural gas. The natural gas industry has grown significantly through the years and today provides a meaningful contribution to the business revenue of the state. In 2006, 5,179 natural gas wells produced approximately 102.8 billion cubic feet of gas (1,487 conventional wells produced 21.2 bcf, 3,677 coalbed methane wells produced 81.4 bcf and 15 dual completion wells produced 0.2 bcf).
Natural gas produced in Virginia may be broken down into two categories. Today, approximately 1,487 wells produce gas from conventional hydrocarbon deposits or formations, while 3,677 wells produce coalbed methane gas from coal seams. Coalbed methane gas was first produced in Virginia in 1988, and through utilization of recent technology, production has increased dramatically to account for over 79% of the natural gas produced in Virginia.