Drilling Down

Gulfport Energy Still Encouraged By Utica

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OKLAHOMA CITY — Gulfport Energy Corp. reports triple-digit production growth during 2014, driven mostly by development of its drilling program in the Utica shale.

“2014 represented a transformational year for Gulfport and a coming-of-age for our development in the Utica shale,” the company’s president and CEO, Michael Moore, told analysts. Output in the Utica grew by 255% and its overall proved reserves increased 305%.

Moore said the Utica possesses some of the richest oil and gas molecules in North America. Last year, the company drilled 85 wells and turned 63 into sales, he reports.

During the fourth quarter of 2014, Gulfport’s Utica acreage averaged approximately 353.4 million cubic feet equivalent per day. During the quarter, net production in the Utica increased 455% over the fourth quarter of 2013, the company said.

Gulfport operates four horizontal rigs in the Utica, but plans to reduce that number to three by the end of the first quarter this year. The company has budgeted between $400 million and $430 million to drill approximately 46 and 52 wells this year.

“During 2015, we currently expect all Utica shale drilling activities to take place in the wet gas and dry gas phase windows, the highest rate of return areas of the play,” Moore says. “We continue to see improvements on the ground and as a result of operating efficiencies and the service cost reductions we have received to date, we currently expect 15% lower well costs during 2015.”

Gulfport has approximately 188,000 acres in the Utica shale’s southern tier, where wells have been the most productive.

Gulfport posted net income of $110.1 million, or $1.28 per diluted share, during the fourth quarter of 2014. For the full year, net income stood at $247.4 million, or $2.88 per diluted share.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.