Drilling Down

Natural Gas Production Rises in Utica, Oil Declines

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Natural gas production from horizontal wells in Ohio’s Utica shale edged upward during the second quarter while oil output declined, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

The Utica’s horizontal wells produced 334.2 billion cubic feet of natural gas during the three months ending June 30 compared to 329.5 billion cubic feet of gas produced during the previous quarter, an increase of 1.4%.

Oil production, however, continued the decline that began during the first three months of this year, ODNR reports. Ohio’s Utica wells produced 4.839 million barrels of oil during the second quarter versus 5.48 million barrels yielded during the first quarter, or a drop of 11%, data show.

For nearly two years, low oil and gas prices have caused energy companies to throttle back production and reduce drilling activity in areas such as the Utica shale.

ODNR said that 1,362 wells reported results during the second quarter. Average oil production stood at 3,553 barrels per well and the average amount of natural gas produced per well was 245.4 million cubic feet of gas over 87 days.

The most productive natural gas wells are in the southern portion of the Utica – especially Monroe and Belmont counties, according to ODNR.

Consol Energy’s CNX Gas Co.’s Brewster SWITZ6D well in Monroe County proved to be the most lucrative natural gas producer across the entire Utica. The well yielded 1.615 billion cubic feet of gas over a 91-day period.

Eclipse Resource LP’s Purple Hayes well in Guernsey County stands as the largest single oil producer in the Utica. The well yielded 71,072 barrels of oil over just 58 days, according to ODNR records.

Wells in the northern tier of the Utica didn’t perform nearly as well as their southern counterparts, although some in Columbiana County demonstrated better-than-average natural gas returns during the period. Oil production throughout the northern tier was negligible.

Chesapeake Exploration’s Paige 5H well in Franklin Township, Columbiana County, for example, produced 793.186 million cubic feet of gas during a 91-day period — the most productive well in Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties. Other wells at the pad also sawed strong results: the Paige 6H produced 512 million cubic feet of gas during the period.

Columbiana County reported a total of 69 wells in production as of the three months ended June 30.

The most productive well in Mahoning County is the Poland Carbon Limestone Landfill’s 6H well, which produced 155.9 million cubic feet of gas during a 91-day period. Mahoning County reported 11 wells in production.

ODNR recorded just four wells in Trumbull County in production. The strongest well is the Kibler 2-3H in Lordstown, which produced about 48 million cubic feet of gas over 90 days.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.