Encino Secures $300M Investment for Oil Exploration in Utica

HOUSTON – Encino Acquisition Partners LLC has secured a $300 million equity investment commitment from the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board to support the energy firm’s accelerated development of the oil play in Ohio’s Utica/Point Pleasant shale region, the company said.

The parties anticipate that $150 million of the commitment will be funded by the end of April. 

Encino is the parent of EAP Ohio, which has offices in Carrollton. In 2018, EAP purchased most of the Utica/Point Pleasant shale assets of Chesapeake Energy Inc., an early prospector in eastern Ohio’s Utica shale.

Encino describes the Utica – initially recognized as a major natural gas producer – as “one of the highest-return oil growth plays in North America,” and has recently found success with sustained oil production with horizontal wells in Columbiana County.

Last year, Encino-owned horizontal wells operating in the county produced nearly 1 million barrels of oil. This production was mostly driven by a handful of wells in Knox and Hanover townships that Encino operates. 

According to the most recent data from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Oil and Gas Division, Columbiana County wells in the Utica/Point Pleasant shale formation produced 970,936 barrels of oil in 2023. All were EAP wells.

During the fourth quarter, EAP wells in the county produced 241,593 barrels, down from 352,354 barrels produced during the previous quarter, records show. 

The energy company has emerged as the largest oil producer in Ohio – its 78 wells across the state in 2023 produced 13.8 million barrels in 2023, or approximately half of total production.

Last year witnessed a dramatic leap in overall oil production statewide, according to ODNR. In 2023, horizontal wells across Ohio produced 27.7 million barrels of oil, a 41% increase from the 19.6 million barrels produced in 2022 and a nearly 70% increase from the 16.4 million barrels produced in 2021.

Pictured at top: An Encino well pad in Salineville, Columbiana County.

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