Drilling Down

Gulfport Secures Four Permits in Utica

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Oklahoma City-based Gulfport Energy Corp. secured four new horizontal drilling permits for new wells in the southern tier of the Utica shale last week, according to the latest data from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

ODNR awarded Gulfport permits for wells in York Township, Belmont County. The rig count in the Utica for that week stood at 15, unchanged from the previous week.

Gulfport was the sole company to secure permits during a week in which the Utica’s largest driller, Chesapeake Energy Corp., announced it would halt drilling program in the Utica this year after posting a $14.9 billion loss in 2015.

On Monday, EV Energy Partners LP announced it would also suspend its Utica operations in 2016, along with other drilling programs across the country.

Energy companies are struggling since the price of oil collapsed during the fourth quarter of 2014. With no rebound in sight, companies and suppliers to the industry have significantly cut back their operations.

To date, 1,688 horizontal wells have been drilled in eastern Ohio’s Utica, of which 1,240 are in production.

No new permits were issued in the northern tier of the Utica, which encompasses Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties in Ohio and neighboring Lawrence and Mercer counties in western Pennsylvania.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.