Drilling Down

Overall Utica Production Up, Local Production Down

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Oil and gas production from horizontal wells across Ohio’s Utica shale hit record levels during the third quarter, but local production is on the decline, according to newly released data from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Production results during the three months ended Sept. 30 show that horizontal wells across Ohio produced 245.747 billion cubic feet of gas and 5,696,780 barrels of oil.

Through the first nine months of 2015, natural gas production jumped by 126%, from 287 billion cubic feet to 651 billion cubic feet during the same period a year ago, ODNR reported. Oil production rose by 111%, from 7.4 million barrels to 15.7 million barrels year-to-date.

However, oil and gas production in the northern tier of the play – generally considered Columbiana, Mahoning and Trumbull counties – declined during the period compared to the previous quarter, records show.

During the second quarter, Columbiana County’s 47 wells produced 9.11 billion cubic feet of natural gas. The latest ODNR report, however, shows 59 wells producing 6.78 billion cubic feet during the third quarter, a decrease of 25%.

Part of this is because many of the wells were placed in production for less than 50 days during the 90-day period, signaling a conscious effort from energy companies to choke back production in the face of low oil and gas prices.

For example, 21 of Chesapeake Energy Corp.’s 47 wells that had reported production for the full three-month period in past quarters produced for just 43 days or less during the third quarter, significantlly cutting the collective output of natural gas wells in Columbiana County.

The best producing gas well in the county was Chesapeake’s D&B Kibler 1H unit in Hanover Township, which produced 462.5 million cubic feet of gas, according to the ODNR report.

Oil production in Columbiana County is negligible. During the third quarter, the county’s unconventional wells elicited a total of 44,212 barrels.

In Mahoning County, the 12 wells reporting production yielded 929.013 million cubic feet of natural gas during the quarter, ODNR reports, and just 5,393 barrels of oil.

Trumbull County holds just five producing wells, ODNR data show. During the quarter, the county’s wells produced 148.9 million cubic feet of gas and 2,438 barrels of oil.

In mid-2014, energy giant BP America pulled out of this part of the Utica, along with Halcon Resources Corp., citing poor well results in the north.

Production results are much different in the southern tier of the Utica, according to ODNR.

A single well drilled by Rice Energy in Belmont County, for example, produced 1.814 billion cubic feet of gas during a 92-day period. Another well on the same pad yielded 1.80 billion cubic feet of natural gas during the quarter.

The quarterly report lists production figures for 1,134 wells, of which 1,087 listed results. Those wells that are drilled but did not report their results are awaiting connections to pipelines, ODNR said. An average Utica well produced 226 million cubic feet of gas and 5,241 barrels of oil for the quarter, ODNR reports.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.