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Marcellus gas production rises; so does recycling

PITTSBURGH — Production of Marcellus Shale natural gas in Pennsylvania rose again in the second half of 2011, slightly exceeding projections.

The state reported Friday that drillers produced the equivalent of 1.66 billion cubic feet of gas per day from July to December. That’s up from about 1.19 billion cubic feet per day in the previous six months.

The output translates into a yearly average of about 1.42 billion cubic feet per day — up slightly from previous industry projections of 1.3 billion for 2011.

Records also show that the industry is recycling more of the briny drilling wastewater, which contains chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. Under pressure from state officials, less wastewater is going to treatment plants. The amount of waste injected deep underground nearly tripled.