Drilling Down

Rig Count in Utica Climbs to 27

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The number of oil and gas rigs operating in eastern Ohio’s Utica shale climbed to 27 as of June 9, according to the latest data posted by oil and gas supplier Baker Hughes Inc.

It is the highest rig count so far this year in the Utica and the highest in more than two years, according to Baker Hughes. A week earlier, Baker Hughes reported 25 rigs operating in the Utica and last reported 27 rigs in Ohio on April 2, 2015.

All data point to a gradual increase in drilling activity across the Utica. Last year, rig counts declined to as little as 10 during a given week.

Meantime, permitting activity for new wells continues in the shale play. According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, eight permits were issued to energy companies for new horizontal wells in the Utica.

R.E. Gas Development LLC secured three permits for wells in Carroll County, Chesapeake Exploration received three permits for wells in Harrison County, and Gulfport Energy Corp. was awarded two permits, one in Belmont County and the other in Monroe County.

There were no new permits issued in Mahoning, Columbiana or Trumbull counties, which is considered the northern tier of the Utica play.

As of June 10, ODNR has awarded 2,526 permits in the Utica. Energy companies have drilled 2,018 oil and gas wells, while 1,575 of these wells are in production.

There were also no new Utica permits issued in neighboring Lawrence or Mercer counties in western Pennsylvania, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.