Drilling Down

Hilcorp Awarded 11 Permits in Columbiana County

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Houston-based Hilcorp Energy Co. is stepping up its interest in eastern Ohio’s Utica shale, specifically in Columbiana County, records show.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources issued 11 permits to Hilcorp for new horizontal wells in Columbiana County last week, according to the latest update from the agency.

Hilcorp was the sole energy company that received permits across eastern Ohio’s Utica shale for the week ended Nov. 5, ODNR records show. The permits are the first signs of interest in drilling new horizontal wells in Columbiana County in a year, according to ODNR data.

Hilcorp wants to drill 11 new horizontal wells in Fairfield Township on the Unkefer property, according to ODNR. These are the first permits awarded in the northern section of Ohio’s Utica since Nov. 3, 2105 when Chesapeake Energy Corp. secured two permits to drill on the company’s Summitcrest well pad in Franklin Township.

Most of the permit activity over the last year has been concentrated in the southeastern portion of the state, such as Belmont and Monroe counties. Over the last three years, wells drilled in this region have proved to be the most productive in the entire oil and gas play.

As of Nov. 5, ODNR has issued 2,298 permits for oil and gas companies to drill in Ohio’s Utica play. The agency reports that 1,834 wells are drilled and 1,433 are in production.

The rig count in Ohio’s Utica remained unchanged from the previous week at 16.

Cheseapeake and Hilcorp are the most active oil and gas producers in the northern tier of the Utica. As of the second quarter of 2016 – the latest production data available through ODNR – Chesapeake reports it owns 56 producing horizontal wells in Columbiana County.

Hilcorp owns seven producing wells in Mahoning County and three producing wells in Columbiana County, but has since received more than 20 permits for wells in the county. Hilcorp is also heavily invested in northwestern Pennsylvania, especially in Lawrence and Mercer counties, which border Columbiana, Mahoning and Trumbull counties in Ohio.

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, there were no new permits issued in Lawrence or Mercer counties during the week.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.