ALBANY — Natural gas production from New York wells totaled 54.9 billion cubic feet for 2007, just below the all-time high of 55.2 bcf in 2006.

State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Pete Grannis says the 2007 production, driven by prolific wells in the Finger Lakes region, was enough to heat nearly 800,000 homes for a year.

Statewide, 12,994 oil and gas wells were in production in 2007. That could rise in the coming years if exploration in the Marcellus Shale region of the Southern Tier yields anticipated results.

A recent study by researchers at Pennsylvania State University and Fredonia State College estimated that the Marcellus Shale could contain as much as 50 trillion cubic feet of recoverable natural gas, although other estimates are much lower.

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