Drilling Down

Permitting, Rig Count Drops in Ohio’s Utica Shale

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — The rig count across the Utica shale play in eastern Ohio took a dramatic tumble last week as oil and gas companies pulled back their drilling operations in the face of dwindling oil prices.

Meanwhile, The Ohio Department of Natural Resources issued just three permits for the week ended March 14. All permits were issued to Antero Resources for wells at its Turkey unit in Noble County.

ODNR reports that the rig count for the week — that is, the number of drilling rigs operating at any given time in the Utica — fell to 27 from 37 a week earlier.

No new permits were issued for wells in Mahoning, Columbiana or Trumbull counties.

To date, ODNR has issued 1,855 permits for horizontal wells in the Ohio portion of the Utica shale; 1,393 of those wells have been drilled, and 828 are in production.

Well permitting was much more active in western Pennsylvania’s section of the Utica, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.

The Pennsylvania DEP awarded five new permits for Hilcorp Energy Co., the most active driller in the northern tier of the Utica shale.

The five permits are for wells in Pulaski Township, Lawrence County, which abuts Mahoning County. There were no new wells issued for sites in Mercer County, the agency reported.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.