Hilcorp Seeks New Well Permits in Columbiana County

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Houston-based Hilcorp Energy Co. is seeking permits to drill new horizontal oil and gas wells in Columbiana County, the most productive region of the northern Utica/Point Pleasant shale formation.

According to data from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Hilcorp has placed requests for permits to drill nine new wells at the Fairfield Unkefer pad in Fairfield Township. The permits had not been awarded as of Feb. 8, records show.

The permit requests, filed Jan. 27, are the first for new wells in 2023 in this area of Ohio’s Utica/Point Pleasant shale formation, according to records. The majority of wells in this region produce natural gas and a negligible amount of oil compared with wells in the middle and southeastern part of Ohio.

Hilcorp reports it operates 38 wells in Columbiana County, according to the most recent data available through ODNR. Hilcorp’s Tarka 6H well in Fairfield Township proved the company’s most productive well during the third quarter of 2022, yielding 705.89 million cubic feet of natural gas over a 92-day period.

The number of new drilling permits issued to oil and gas companies exploring the Utica/Point Pleasant shale formation in Columbiana County increased substantially last year compared with the previous two years, records show.

ODNR reports that oil and gas companies secured 40 permits to drill new horizontal wells across the county during 2022, a 60% increase from the same period in 2021 and a 233% increase compared with 2020.

In 2021, 25 new permits were issued, according to ODNR. In 2020, ODNR awarded just 12 permits as the COVID-19 pandemic placed a stranglehold on energy exploration and drove oil and gas prices downward, records show.

Overall oil and gas production in the Utica/Point Pleasant in eastern Ohio and the Marcellus shale in Pennsylvania and West Virginia – collectively known as the Appalachian basin – is expected to increase in February, according to the latest report issued by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

EIA reports that Appalachia is on track to increase oil production from 136,000 barrels per day in January to 139,000 barrels per day in February – an increase of 3,000 barrels.

Natural gas output is also projected to increase, EIA reports. In January, Appalachian wells yielded 35.279 billion cubic feet of gas per day. That number is expected to increase to an average of 35.372 billion cubic feet per day, a jump of 93 million cubic feet per day.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.