Drilling Down

Utica Rig Count Shrinks to Nine

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Just nine oil and gas rigs were reported operating in eastern Ohio’s Utica shale for the week ended May 28, down from 11 a week earlier and an indication that energy companies have yet to shake off the woes of a weak market.

Rig counts have continued to fall in the shale play since oil and gas prices started their collapse during the last three months of 2014. While these prices have rebounded somewhat, exploration and permit activity in the Utica has slowed to a trickle.

Five new horizontal well permits were issued by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources last week and the agency issued zero permits during the previous week. This compares to more than 50 permits awarded to oil and gas companies during the last week of January 2015.

Two permits were awarded to Rice Drilling LLC for wells in Belmont County, two others were issued to Statoil USA Onshore for wells in Monroe County, and a single well permit was awarded to Chesapeake Exploration LLC for a well in Jefferson County.

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

To date, ODNR has issued 2,179 permits for horizontal wells in the Utica. Of that number, 1,747 are drilled and 1,325 are in production.

No new permits were issued for horizontal Utica wells in Lawrence or Mercer counties in western Pennsylvania, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.