The Utica and Marcellus shale plays have such bullish futures that they could reverse the traditional south-to-north and west-to-east pipeline flows of natural gas, says anew report from Bentek Energy in Houston.

Such a phenomenon would be driven by increased production in the Utica and Marcellus plays in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia and soaring demand for natural gas in the Southeast over the next 10 years. As a result, Bentek says, the Northeast would switch from the nation’s largest demand region for natural gas to a net supply region.

The report says the Utica and Marcellus plays will account for more than one-third of the increase in U.S. natural gas production through 2013 while nearly half of the increase in demand for gas will come from the Southeast.

Bentek analyst Rick Notarianni shared some of the production projections in the report, which is available only by buying it from Bentek, a unit of Platts, the energy and petrochemical information and pricing company.

Notarianni told me the Marcellus and Utica plays now provide about 18 percent of the nation’s 64 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas. It’s expected to account for around 25 percent of the projected 77 Bcf/d in 2023. The vast majority of that gas will come initially from the established Marcellus play in north-central and southwestern Pennsylvania and northern West Virginia, Notarianni said.

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