Drilling Down

Well Permitting Dries Up in Ohio’s Utica

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Permitting activity for new horizontal wells came up dry last week in the eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania sectors of the Utica shale, state agencies report.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection did not issue any permits for new horizontal wells in the Utica for the week ended April 4, according to records.

Since the beginning of the year, the rig count in the Ohio portion of the Utica has fallen substantially, from more than 50 in January to just 24 last week.

Energy companies, struggling to remain profitable in the face of lower oil and natural gas prices, have dramatically slashed their capital expenditures and suspended drilling activity across the country, including the Utica.

To date, 1,420 horizontal wells have been drilled in eastern Ohio’s Utica. Of that number, 839 are in production.

No new permits were issued in Lawrence or Mercer counties in western Pennsylvania last week, the Pennsylvania DEP reported. This region, the only active area in the northern tier of the Utica, is largely dominated by Hilcorp Energy Co., which continues to develop this part of the play. Other companies such as BP America and Halcon Resources Corp. have pulled out.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.