Drilling Down

ODNR Issues 13 Permits; Utica Awaits New Pipelines

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The Ohio Department of Natural Resources issued 13 new horizontal well permits across the Utica shale last week during which the number rose of rigs that operate in the oil and gas play.

And, over the next two years, the Utica can expect additional pipeline infrastructure that will enable the region to increase production and transport natural gas to markets across the United States.

Oklahoma City-based Gulfport Energy Corp. received five permits to drill in Belmont County, while Ascent Resources Utica LLC, also based in Oklahoma City, was awarded four permits for new wells in Guernsey County during the week ended Nov. 19, according to ODNR.

Eclipse Resources LP, based in State College, Pa., obtained three new permits for wells in Monroe County, while the Norwegian energy company Statoil received one permit for a well in Monroe.

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

The rig count in the Ohio Utica improved to 21 during the week, ODNR said, an improvement from 16 operating the previous week.

As of Nov. 19, there were 1,468 horizontal wells in production across the Utica and 1,851 wells drilled. A total of 2,311 permits have been issued for horizontal wells since 2010.

Meanwhile, new pipeline infrastructure across the Utica should be in commission by the end of 2018, which would increase the capacity to transport natural gas from the Utica market to other regions, according to a report by the U.S. Energy Information Agency.

Once this infrastructure is completed, it would increase takeaway capacity in the Utica region by 6.8 billion cubic feet per day. At present, the pipeline network in the Utica has the capacity to transport about 10 billion cubic feet per day. With added pipeline service, that could reach some 16.8 billion cubic feet per day, EIA said.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC, must first approve all projects and construction on the pipelines before they can be installed and once a final environmental impact statement is issued, EIA said.

Among those projects under review and positioned to enter into service in the Utica:

  • The Rover Pipeline, which has the capacity to transport 3.25 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day.
  • The Leach Xpress, which will add 1.5 billion cubic feet per day in takeaway capacity from the Columbia Pipeline system.
  • The Rayne Xpress, which will have the capacity to transport 600 million cubic feet per day from the Columbia system to the Gulf Coast.
  • The Nexus Transmission Pipeline, which is designed to transport 1.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas to markets in Ohio, Michigan, the Chicago Hub in Illinois, and the Dawn Hub in Ontario, Canada.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.