Drilling Down

Utica Gas Production to Level Off Next Month

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The rig count in the Utica continues to trend upward, according to the latest data from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Twenty-three rigs operated across Ohio’s Utica shale region for the week ended Dec. 10 – that’s more than at any other week all year, ODNR reported.

And, five new permits for horizontal wells were issued during the week, ODNR said.

Three permits were awarded to Antero Resources Corp. for wells in Monroe County, while Chesapeake Exploration LLC received a single permit for a well in Harrison County and XTO Energy was issued a permit for a well in Belmont County.

No new permits were issued in Mahoning, Trumbull or Columbiana counties in the northern tier of the play, nor were any new permits issued in neighboring Lawrence and Mercer counties in western Pennsylvania, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.

As of Dec. 10, there were 2,323 permits issued in the Utica shale, 1,865 wells drilled, and 1,472 wells in production, ODNR reported.

Natural gas production in the Utica is expected to remain flat into January while oil output is projected to fall, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s latest drilling productivity report.

The EIA reports that Utica wells should produce 4.205 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day in January, unchanged from December. Oil yields in the energy play are expected to drop by 3,000 barrels per day, to 46,000 barrels per day from 49,000 barrels.

Meanwhile, production in the neighboring Marcellus shale in Pennsylvania and West Virginia is expected to increase, EIA data show.

Marcellus wells are on track to produce 37,000 barrels of oil per day in January, up slightly from 36,000 barrels in December.

Natural gas production is more pronounced. In December, natural gas output in the Marcellus stood at 18.304 billion cubic feet of gas per day. That’s expected to increase by 160 million units to 18.464 billion cubic feet per day.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.