ODNR Issues 14 Utica Permits to 5 Companies

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — The Ohio Department of Natural Resources issued 14 horizontal well permits during the week ended Jan. 31 to five companies exploring the Utica shale for oil and gas reserves, the agency reports.

According to ODNR’s website, Gulfport Energy Corp. received four new permits to drill wells in Belmont County, while Eclipse Resources secured four new permits for wells in Noble County.

Energy companies are concentrating exploration efforts in the southern tier of the play, a region that’s produced some of the Utica’s most powerful wells.

American Energy Utica LLC received three permits for new wells, two in Belmont County and one in Monroe County. Devon Energy Production Co. secured permits for two new wells, one in Guernsey County and another in Wayne County in the western window of the Utica.

Chesapeake Exploration LLC secured a single permit to drill in Tuscarawas County, also considered part of the western edge of the Utica. Energy companies suspect the western Utica holds large reserves of oil, but exploration efforts have thus far been unsuccessful in retrieving sufficient quantities from wells drilled there.

Since 2010, 1,341 horizontal wells have been drilled in Ohio’s Utica and ODNR has issued 1,791 permits. Of those, 729 wells are in production.

Rig counts in the Utica have tumbled over the past several weeks in response to declining oil and natural gas prices. As of Jan. 31, there were 40 rigs operating in the Utica, down from 43 a week earlier.

No new permits were issued last week for wells in Mahoning, Trumbull or Columbiana counties. Nor were there any Utica permits issued to companies for wells in Lawrence or Mercer counties in western Pennsylvania, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.

Copyright 2015 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.

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