Drilling Down

Eclipse Suspends Utica Drilling for First Half of 2016

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Another energy company drilling the natural-gas rich Utica shale says it is significantly curtailing operations because of a depressed pricing environment.

Eclipse Resources Corp., based in State College, Pa., said Thursday it would halt new drilling for the first half of 2016 and limit its activity to completing a well that was previously drilled.

“For the first half of the year, we intend to limit our operated drilling and completion activity to a single well which was commenced last year,” CEO Benjamin W, Hulbert said in a statement. He said the company should resume limited drilling sometime during the third quarter of this year. “We continue to view our curtailment approach as appropriate.”

The company said it plans to drill 7.6 net wells and complete 9.4 net wells in 2016. Eclipse expects to end the year with 11.5 drilled but uncompleted wells and set its capital budget at $168 million for 2016. This includes $130 million for new drilling and completion activity and $35 million for land and lease acquisition.

Eclipse said it drilled a single well during the fourth quarter of 2015 and placed seven more online into sales.

Last year, the company reported it drilled 31 Utica wells, completed 51 wells, and placed 76 wells into production.

But a low pricing environment has caused energy companies to stop drilling new wells in the Utica and elsewhere. Eclipse reports that it lost $971.4 million in 2015 despite revenues of $255.3 million, up 97% compared to 2014.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.